Mar 122016

Did you register for one of Craftsy’s class bundles currently on sale and now need supplies?  Or perhaps you are planning something to celebrate the start of spring but find you are needing some more items.  3/17-3/20 craft supplies will be on sale at Craftsy.

Craftsy carries a wide variety of craft supplies for almost every sort of craft you may be looking to accomplish:

  • fabric
  • yarn
  • art
  • drawing
  • painting
  • baking
  • cooking
  • cake decorating
  • scrapbooking
  • stamping
  • sewing
  • photography
  • knitting
  • quilting
  • woodworking
  • gardening
  • home decor
  • gifts
  • and more.



Mar 102016

This post contains affiliate links.  When you click through and purchase something, a small portion comes back to support this blog at not added cost to you.  If you wish to not go through an affiliate link, you are free to go directly to their website.  Thank you for your support.

Ever want to learn a new craft? How about improve upon on you already know?  Try that a new technique to add extra oomph to a project of yours?  Well, it is your lucky day.  Craftsy is having an Online DIY Class Bundle Sale.  Class bundles are groupings of online Craftsy classes curated by experts for the most efficient and comprehensive creative learning journey. There are online videos you can watch anytime, anywhere with unlimited lifetime access to your collection. Craftsy’s online class bundles will be on deeper discount between 3/11-3/13.

The great thing about these classes is no traveling, your access never expires, and there is a 100% money back guarantee.

Last year I went through a mini course on landscaping.  Inspired by what I was learning, I decided to tackle my front yard and turn it into a shade garden.  It was a large project, at a time when I had other large projects also going on, but was made immensely easier by the encouragement from the course.

There are over 100 Class Collections on Craftsy’s website, enough to cover a very wide range of topics.  The graphic above gives you a small sampling of what you will find.  If you have been looking for something new or challenging, now would be a great time to register.  Then, as you have free time or during a rainy weekend you can work your way through the lessons.  You may find a new love of your life.

With the wide variety of topics available, if you could choose one to attend, which would it be?


Mar 032016

jars of crushed tomatoes 4

Canning during the spring season is not what usually comes to mind when I think of filling the pantry with beautiful results of gardening labor. However, that is where I am starting this year.

Goal #1 Use up all my current canned goods. After taking a canning hiatus last year, I find myself still with an abundance of filled jars.  Some I have no worries about them being used up soon (beets), others I know are going to take more deliberate planning (green tomato pie filling).

Why not plan to use them throughout the year? Some, like beets, I will. Others, though, have a 2013 date on them. While still good, their quality is in decline; they need to be used soon.

The corn has found a home in a cornbread recipe. The plan is to make muffins and freeze them.

The crushed tomatoes will be used in chili.  I was surprised to find howcmanybof these we actually used.  If they are still hanging around I will puree them to use while cooking rice.

The tomato sauce, my earliest try at spaghetti sauce, is runny and unflavored.  It is currently being used when I cook rice, and will continue to be used as such.

The pickled beets will be eaten as sides. After not having beets for years, I went a bit overboard while canning. Turns out that we do not eat a quart twice a week all tear long.  I may start using these to make Harvard beets some meals.

The pearbutter will be dumped unless there is a redeeming recipe somewhere. It would have turned out okay except it needed more sugar. Lots more sugar.

The other jams I will continue to open and use. The only store bought jam we have is apricot jam, which my husband likes but of which I have none.

With our maple syrup supply running low, placing a jar of fruit syrup in the fridge next to the maple syrup would go a long way toward helping me remember we have them. These were failed jelly and jam attempts.

I also have a few loners hanging out in the pantry -a jar of relish, some peppers, a tomato soup combination – these will be moved next to similar items and added to the meal preparations.  Our next pizza meal will have banana peppers on it. Yum!

Farm Market Swap 2015 collage

Goal #2 Try some no garden related canning recipes. Last fall, my friend shared a jar of Thai Dipping Sauce she had canned. It was delicious and required no fresh garden products. It is one example of a canning recipe that can be done any time of the year.

Tubs and crate of canning jars

Goal #3 Gather and sort all empty canning jars. When filled it is easy to keep similar sized jars together. As jars get emptied, though, I find there is a glitch in my method. Most are in bins and boxes, but enough are in bags, on my work bench and next to toys on shelves in the basement to get the feeling of being surrounded by wayward jars.

How do you approach the start of the next canning season if you still have jars of goods left over from past years?  Any particular recipes you use?

Feb 222016

This post contains some links that are affiliate links.  If you click through and decide to purchase something I will receive a small portion, at not extra charge to you.  I hope you find these links helpful to your day.Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

The Chocolate Mousse in the picture collage above sounds so very good right now.  I think it has a lot more to do with my scratchy throat than my desire for chocolate.  This also started with George, proceeded on to Jack, who thinks sucking his fingers is fully acceptable.  It was no surprise then when my husband came down with the cold.  He also seems to catch every cold going around, and never just slightly.  I, however, seem to rarely get sick and thought I had made it through this without catching it.  At least I know I will get over it in a few days.  My poor husband has already been dealing with it for 4 days and has a few more before he is out of the woods.

These past few weeks have held grocery trips were I have not needed to buy a lot of the ingredients for our meals.  This has allowed me to buy specialty items or restock on items we  have gone through.

Ibotta sent me $34.75 in rebates.  This is for previously purchased groceries, things I would have been purchasing anyway.  If you have never used this program, I recommend it.  It is easy to use and there is a variety of products offered.  Often they have rebates for produce that I can not find elsewhere.  If you sign-up by clicking this link, you can earn a $10 bonus after submitting your first rebate.

I also redeemed my points earned at Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card.  My thought is to use this gift card in conjunction with Amazon Pantry. The idea of having some of my weekly shopping list delivered directly to my door is awesome.  I am trying to reduce the amount of time I spend in the stores.  Not only do I notice how sluggish I become while in stores, and the fact that I get a headache, but my kids also do not like to go shopping.  They sure do like to eat though, so I have not completely given up on this activity.

We already use Amazon to purchase various items, usually in bulk. Have you used Amazon’s Prime Pantry before?  What were your thoughts?


  1. Eggs with peppers and onions, hash browns and tea
  2. Cereal
  3. Cereal
  4. Muffins
  5. Shakes
  6. Oatmeal
  7. Crepes, bacon, fruit


  1. Eat out
  2. OYO
  3. Pizza
  4. Meatloaf
  5. Kheema, rice
  6. Chili, corn bread muffins
  7. Sandwiches, chips, fruit


  1. Marinated meat, apple slices, peas
  2. Tomato soup/hot dogs, chips, fruit
  3. Black Bean Burgers, fried potatoes
  4. Tomato soup/leftovers
  5. Buttermilk pancakes, fruit syrup, fruit
  6. Falafel, flat bread, side salad
  7. Eat out

Linked up at This Week for Dinner and OrgJunkie.

Feb 132016

These ebooks are currently $0.00 on Amazon.  Click on the links below each picture to be taken to the page where you can download a digital version of the book.  Before purchasing the books, please double check the price to make sure it has not changed.  Before I had a Kindle I read these on my computer.  If you are wanting to do the same, go here to download the free application.  These are not affiliate links.

Here are 10 free ebooks found on Amazon which I thought looked interesting and informative.  Several of them I got for myself, to read either now or later.  While I often read at home at night, I also like to have a selection of books for when I am in the car, waiting at an appointment, or for quiet times.

The books are grouped by similar topics to help you find something that may interest you.  I hope you find something to enjoy and learn from.


Urban Gardening Guide

Gardening 101: Friendship Gardens


Homesteading The Easy Way Including Prepping And Self Sufficency: 3 Books In 1 Boxed Set

Weekend Homesteader: April

Heirloom Seeds: An Introduction to Organic Heirloom Seeds, Growing Them, and Their Benefits

Foraging: The Complete Beginners Guide – 28 Crucial Steps To Foraging Wild Edible Plants And Herbs The Easy And Safe Way!


Herbs, Herbs and more Herbs: A handbook on everything you need to know to use herbs effectively (How to dry herbs at home – How to dry foods 2)

Herb Gardening For Beginners, Planting An Herb Garden Made Easy: How To Grow Herbs And Dry Herbs

Straw Bale Gardening

Straw Bale Gardening: The Complete Straw Bale Gardening Guide How to Grow More Vegetables and Herbs in Straw Bale Garden with Limited Space.

Straw bale gardening for beginners: Ultimate guide to grow fruits, herbs and vegetables in backyard straw bale garden

Straw Bale Gardening: Simple Step by Step Guide to Successful Gardening without Any Digging

Vermiculture (Worms)

Worm Composting: The Ultimate Guide to Worm Composting for Life

Get the Garden of your Dreams with this Composting and Wormery Guide!

Indoor Gardening

Apartment Gardening

Indoor Gardening: The 12 Best Herbs to Grow On Your Kitchen Window. Tips and Techniques to Create Your Own Culinary Herb Garden

Growing House Plants for the Beginner Enthusiast

Urban Organic Gardening Indoors: A Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide to Growing A Garden Indoors


Cook What You Have A Guide to the Lazy Garden and the Lazy Kitchen

Feb 072016

cleaning kitchen floor collage

Friday, out of frustration I cleaned. At least the broom would not yell at me, try to do things the hard way and then whine about it,  and I could do something about the eternally frustrating, never ending crumbs and bits of dirt that seem to appear overnight on our wood floors.

There are still areas that need a lot of attention, but the floors are swept and the entry way actually feels inviting.  The laundry is also almost caught up from having been given a back seat this week.

Friday night, my friend mentioned their family was going to be in Small Town on Saturday and was wondering if their son could give our kids their guitar lessons (one of our Christmas gifts to the kids) at our house.  Otherwise they would have had to drive back to their Other Small Town and we would have had to drive to their Other Small Town for the lessons right after this lovely family finished their errands in my Small Town.  “Of course!” I responded.  “Why don’t you also come a bit early and have breakfast with us?”

I had no special plans for breakfast, my bedroom is a mess, there is at least one section of the counter in the kitchen that has items which have been waylaid on their journey to their rightful homes, the board game shelf is over flowing, and…and…and… AND these are friends.  Friends are more important than an immaculate house.

These are also friends who value their limited free time.

These are friends we do not get to see often enough.

These are friends who are not expecting a fully set table with linens and silver wear, imported coffee and hand squeezed juice.  They are friends and they are welcome at our house whenever and for however long, or short, the time.

What did breakfast end up being?  Buttermilk pancakes, bacon, bananas, eggs, juice, and coffee.  Again, nothing fancy but it really is oh so good and a great breakfast to have a conversation over.

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

Last week I tried 4 new meals.  3 are repeats.  1 took way too long to make.  1 cost way too much. 1 was very flavorful, even Jack has asked for it again several times since.

The 1 that took too long ended up being the one I will not repeat again.  While it was good, it was not great.  The flavor just did not deliver.  We have the left overs in the freezer, so we will see it again on the menu at least once.

The one recipe that cost way too much seemed to also not deliver on flavor … until the final step.  Even the recipe mentioned this would happen.  They were right.  It was a beef stew that had a bottle of wine as part of the ingredients.  The instructions called for half the wine to be put in at the beginning and the rest at the end.  The same for certain spices.  The difference was amazing.  Even my husband was amazed at the difference between the 10 minutes I took it out of the oven and when it made it to the table, finished.  We will adjust it to our liking, including adding more vegetables and less meat.  Again, we have enough left overs to make a second meal in a few weeks.

The one Jack really loved also took a bit of time, but I know now how to help shorted it.  A lot of the marinating process can be done before the meat is put into the freezer, which is what I do when I find meat on sale but do not yet need it.  This step would save me a few hours of prep time the day I want to make this meal.  After that, most of the steps are “Apply this rub and cook.  wait a gazillion hours.  Take from the over and let it sit.  Cook sauce and pour over meat.  Enjoy!”   I think I will also be looking for a boneless option next time at the store, as I used a lot of time cutting the bone out of the meat.

The one recipe that did not cost too much, nor take too much time, and still delivered on flavor was a Black Bean Burger recipe.  It is not going to knock your socks off in the flavor area, but it was for sure not bland.  My husbands verdict? “Needs more onion but is a great substitute for ground beef in burgers.”  Sounds like a win to me.

eggs toast grits breakfast

This week may hold a few new recipes, though they will be soups. I am balancing this with cleaning out some of the freezer and using up some remaining breakfast items. Hopefully no meals that take a lot of time to make.


  1. Shakes, cereal
  2. Cream of wheat and grits till they are gone.
  3. Pancakes from freezer


  1. Eat out
  2. Salad
  3. Chocolate chili
  4. Party – Sandwiches, fruit, dessert
  5. Pizza
  6. Curry and rice
  7. New Recipe


  1. Super Bowl Party/jam and cheese sandwiches
  2. Tomato soup/freezer leftovers
  3. Butternut Squash Soup (new recipe)
  4. Freezer leftovers/tomato soup
  5. Hearty Lentil Soup (new recipe)
  6. Salad
  7. Leftovers

Linked up at This Week for Dinner and OrgJunkie.

Feb 012016

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

This post contain affiliate links to a great meal planning website.  My hope is that you find something that works for you and helps with this task of homemaking.

Last week I responded to a Facebook post from another homeschooling mom.  The question asked was, “What do your lunches look like?”  The question was brought up by an infographic showing school lunches from various countries around the world.  Let me just state, while I loved some of my school lunches, they NEVER looked like that.  Amazing what food staged for pictures look like versus what food served up by lunch room workers look like. Also, we rarely if ever got a cookie.

It seems I was in the minority, with most of the responses being along the lines of “Whatever we can find” or “They fend for themselves.”  Lunch at our home tends to be the largest meal of the day.  This has not always been the case.

When both my husband and I worked outside the home, I took my lunch (see below) and he would eat out.  Supper was the largest meal, but with only two of us and me not getting home till about 6 p.m. even that meal was not always really large.

Another factor in what our meal plan has become is my husband.  If it were up to me it would look something like this:

Breakfast – egg sandwich and coffee x 7, add tomato or cheese if feeling ‘fancy’

Lunch – peanut butter and jelly with a piece of fruit and a cup of yogurt x 7, change up flavors of jelly and yogurt and type of fruit for variety

Supper – soup and a sandwich (tomato soup, chicken and noodle soup, chili, beef stew, etc.)

And yes, there would be no meal plan each week because, frankly, there would not be much planning needed.

There also may not be a husband in the house because I am fairly sure he would have revolted over a decade ago.  For one, he does not like egg sandwiches.  Secondly, he does not like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Thirdly, he thinks changing the kind of yogurt and flavor of jelly does not constitute having variety in ones diet.  I think he would be okay with soup each night if we have nice break in the house.

Sun Dried Tomato Soup

This is where being a homemaker comes in.  It is my job to make a home for others, a place where they actually want to be.  To think of them while going about my routines of keeping thing going.

While I would not mind such a simple meal routine, I did it for many years on my own, my husband disagrees strongly.  What is one to do?  Tip: Digging in your heels till he sees the error of his ways is not the way to go.  I began looking for new recipes and taking more time out of my day to make a meal we both like.  In order to make those meals, I had to have the ingredients in the pantry.  In order to have them in the pantry I needed to know what I was making so I could buy what I did not have.  And so began meal planning for one or two meals a day.

Yes, it has meant more time in the kitchen and more dishes.  It has also meant finding some really delicious recipes.  This is what works for us at this time.

When a recipe seems time consuming or complicated and I really do not think I have the time to make it, I invite my husband to try it on a Saturday.  He is a good cook and enjoys doing it when he has time.  And time right now, time during the week is often in short supply for him.

Last week was one of those crazy weeks of my own making.  We were going to be out of the house over the lunch hour for 3 days, doctor appointment one day and field trips the other two days.  It would have been easy to say, “You are on your own” and leave it at that.  The result would have been a much higher eating out bill.  Instead, I made two meals ahead and the third one left up to my husband to decide.  There were supplies enough in the kitchen to make a sandwich or soup if he wanted to come home.

By having two meals already made, not only was my husband still able to have his large meal at home those days, but the rest of us were also able to still have a nice meal and not have to eat out.  It did mean making 3 meals one day, which I really did not like doing, but I preferred that over spending 4 times as much each day for us to eat out. (It can cost us $5 -$6 a person to eat out and $1-$2 to eat at home.)

apple muffins in freezer bagMy meal planning took a turn for the more detailed about 5 years ago.  What happened then?  We had two little boys move into our home with a very high need to know what they were going to be eating.  They also had no ability to wait.  If I stood in the kitchen thinking about what to make, 30 seconds later I would have 2 whining kids at my ankles begging for food.

As we found out more about them, the reasons became clear.  That did not make it easier, but it helped when I became frustrated with the issues.

You see, every night when I said, “Good night, I’ll see you in the morning.”  The automatic response would be, “What are we having for breakfast?”  “Cereal” was not an acceptable response as these kids did not eat cereal.  Well, at least not the kind that is in anyway healthy for you.

And so began me planning not only lunches, but all 3 meals. Every day. Each week.

It quickly became apparent that I needed to find a more efficient way to plan some of these meals.  Thankfully, unlike my husband, the kids did not mind having the same meal for breakfast every day.  AND they thought a change in flavor of jelly fully acceptable to keep things exciting.

For the first 6 months of these two little, bursting at the seams with energy, bundles of boy-ness we had the following for breakfast – eggs, toast, fruit, milk.  My husband had his choice of breakfast meals, though he usually opted for a shake.

Not only did having the same thing for breakfast everyday make meal planning easier, it also created a routine.  They knew that food was going to be there and they knew what it was going to be.

After 6 months I decided it was time to introduce a bit of variety into their lives.  Each day of the week, breakfast got a meal type.

  • Sunday – shakes
  • Monday – eggs and toast
  • Tuesday – cream of wheat or other warm cereal
  • Wednesday – a muffin or other carb
  • Thursday – shake
  • Friday – oatmeal or other warm cereal
  • Saturday – eggs, toast, fruit, meat or eating out in Big Town.

And here we are 4.5 year later with almost the exact routine still in place. I can often tell you which day of the week it is by what we had for breakfast.  It really throws off our week if we have shakes on a day other than Sunday and Thursday.

breakfast collage bacon eggs hashbrowns coffee

Over time it would have been easy to stick with what used to work for me, to say “no” to change.  However, my love for others, wanting to show them I care about their likes and dislikes, and wanting to care for their needs, has led me to taking time to do something they may not always think about – meal planning so there is something there for them to eat.

Please, do not take this as me saying, “If you do not meal plan and cook everyday you do not love your family.”  That is not at all what I am trying to get across.  I am saying that this is one way I have chosen to express my love for my family.  I could say the same thing about doing the laundry or requesting movies from the library.  Neither of those two latter things would be activities I would give much thought to if it were just me.  My love for others, though, has shown me that sometimes we have to stretch and be willing to invest in activities that we may not otherwise seek out.

Meal planning has allowed me to do this activity of love more efficiently and frugally.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat




  1. Shakes
  2. Eggs, toast, fruit
  3. Cereal
  4. Doughnuts
  5.  Shakes
  6. Hot rice cereal with nuts and raisins
  7. Strawberry-jam Hand Pies


  1. Eat out
  2. Chinese Barbecued Pork, steamed veggetables
  3. Salad
  4. Pulled Pork Sandwich, potato salad
  5. Black Bean Burgers
  6. Tuscan Style Beef Stew
  7. Sandwiches, fruit, chip


  1. Leftovers
  2. Healthy Slow Cooked Tikka Masala, rice
  3. Cream of Tomato Soup
  4. Falafel, barley
  5. TBD
  6. Crepes
  7. Leftovers


This post linked up at and This Week For Dinner


Jan 252016

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

This post contain affiliate links to a great meal planning website as well as some rebate sites.  My hope is that you find something that works for you and helps with this task of homemaking.

For the first time in about a month, we are back to the routine of my husband being gone two nights a week.  My routine of making meals that he does not like, but which I do, on those nights worked only so long.  After a while he also wanted to be able to eat at home before heading off to class.  The compromise for this week?  Tomato soup.  A serving is a quick fix, so no spending tons of time on a separate meal just for him.  It is also a favorite of his and quick to eat, which helps.  Yes, it means that his portion will cost $1 just by itself, BUT it means he will not be eating out, which will save even more on our spending.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Here are some other ways I use to save money on our grocery shopping:

  • Shopping first at discount grocery stores – places like Aldi.
  • Looking at sales/deals taking place at pharmacies with point programs – CVS, Walgreens, Right-Aid
  • Looking at sales taking place at larger grocery stores
  • Matching up online printable coupons for items I am buying
  • Matching up rebates from apps – ibotta, Checkout 51, Snap, SavingStar, Shopmium

At times, I question whether it actually is cheaper to shop at stores like Aldi before going to a larger grocer.  Recently I was reminded, yet again, that it really does save money.  Aldi had a few cheeses on their shelves.  These were new kinds that I assumed were seasonal as they were not restocked when supplies ran low.  That was unfortunate as we really liked their flavors.

Last week, while at a larger grocer, directly across the street from Aldi, I saw the exact same cheese.  This time, however, it was $3 more per package.  Out of curiosity I check on a spreadable cheese I had been buying at another discount store; it was also several dollars more per package.  A great reminder that we can still buy niceties in our grocery shopping without having to always pay the higher prices.

Ibotta Referral Logo

Ibotta was one of the first apps I began using when looking for alternatives to clipping paper coupons.  It has continued to be one I use regularly.

While having the Ibotta app downloaded on my phone makes it easy to upload pictures of receipts and redeem rebates, it is not necessary.  You can also redeem rebates by going to their website.  As an added bonus for signing up, for a limited time if you redeem a rebate within your first 2 weeks you will earn $10 in your account.

This week I will be using Ibotta to save on several items we need to restock at home.  These items will include fresh fruits, items from the dairy aisle, meat and some canned goods.  Offers will vary between people, depending on stores available, parts of the country, and other factors of which I am not privy.  Some weeks I use Ibotta for a lot of items, and other weeks it may be only for one or two items.  I appreciate not having to clip a coupon or remember to hand it to a cashier.  This helps when you feel like your arms are already full and your brain power is draining quickly.

Shopmium, Exclusive offers in your store

Shopmium is another app I use, though not as regularly.  I appreciate the more upscale offers they have.  At times it is just what I need and contains offers I do not normally find easliy elsewhere. This is especially true living in Small Town.  If you use referral code: FFUEGUVP during sign up to receive an offer for a free Lindt Chocolate Bar.  Might just be the thing you need today. 😉




  1. Shakes
  2. Cereal
  3. Eggs, toast
  4. Butterscotch Banana Muffins
  5. Shakes
  6. Steel-cut Oats
  7. Whole-wheat pancakes, bacon


  1. Eat out
  2. Ground Beef Curry with rice
  3. Pizza
  4. Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish, peas, rice
  5. Pulled Pork Sandwiches with potato salad
  6. Salad
  7. Chinese Barbecued Pork, rice, steamed vegetables


  1. Leftovers
  2. Broiled fish, quinoa, steamed veggies/tomato soup
  3. Salad
  4. Crockpot Chicken/tomato soup
  5. Black Bean Burgers
  6. Home Fries/Breakfast for Dinner
  7. Leftovers

This post linked up at and This Week For Dinner


Jan 182016

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

This post contain affiliate links to a great meal planning website.  It is one I have been using for a few years and really love it.  It has not only made planning more likely to happen, but also cut down the time I spent doing it.  My husband loves that he can easily add recipes he wants me to try; that also increases the likelihood of new recipes happening.  🙂

Each morning I feel like a spy, sneaking through out house, avoiding alerting the enemy as to my actions.  The problem is creaky wood floors, as we live in an old house with very little carpeting.  Meal planning is a pretty quiet activity, so that what I found myself doing on Sunday morning while everyone else was still asleep.  Not sure why my body has decided upon 5 – 5:30 a.m. as a good time to wake up , but it seems bent on early morning hours for me.

Before planning our meals I took a look at our grocery spending so far this month.  I could not believe how much I had spent so far; not exactly a good way to start a new year.  This meant, though, that there should be enough food in the house without having to do a grocery trip in Big Town.  Looking through my recipe options I found enough options to create a meal plan without having to repeat meals, except for shakes which we normally plan twice a week.  I also re-learned a lesson about how shopping at one store and not shopping sales really does increase your grocery spending.

grocery aisle

Our week is fairly empty, though I had a feeling there was something on Monday.  The calendar was empty, but still the feeling persisted.  At church I remembered what it was – George had no school on Monday and would be at home.  While having both my kids at home all day is not a overly disruptive activity in terms of meal planning, in general it throws off the interaction in the house and our routine in general.

By Monday morning I was very glad for the plan of meals for the day.  It did not take long for my strict schedule loving George to become out of sorts, finding solace by invading Jacks’ personal space and enjoying making his brother scream.  If it had not been for the meal plan, we would have had sandwiches and my husband would have been sent to eat lunch away from the house.  Instead, the chili and cornbread was made and ready for my husband to come home.  By that point I had also found things (school work actually) for the kids to do away from each other.

Going into the afternoon I knew that a quiet time and other activities could be put in place as supper was not going to require cooking or a lot of preparation.  I also know that I will not need to worry about cleaning out the refrigerator during quiet time, as it will happen naturally as the week progresses.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat


  1. Shakes
  2. Cereal
  3. Cream of Wheat
  4. Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
  5. Shakes
  6. Pancakes, sausage
  7. Eggs, Home Fries, bacon, fruit


  1. Eat out
  2. Chocolate Chili, corn bread
  3. Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas
  4. Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish, peas, rice
  5. Pizza
  6. Eye Round Roast, potatoes, carrots
  7. Sandwiches, chips, fruit


  1. Leftovers Cubed Steak, potato salad, coleslaw
  2. Salad
  3. Herbed Lentils with Spinach and Tomatoes
  4. Crockpot Chicken (not sure of exact recipe yet)
  5. Veggie and Cilantro Hummus Sandwiches
  6. Tangy Black Bean Soup
  7. Leftovers/sandwiches

This post linked up at and This Week For Dinner


Jan 162016

bird seed snowflake children craft

Cardinal Cottage has some great photos if, what else, cardinals.  There are a few craft ideas and paintings as well.


Penny spinners look like a great craft for any time you need a fairly quick idea. I am going to file this away for an upcoming holiday shindig with a few other families.


I love how Two Peas And Their Pod took a simple tomato soup and with the help of a few simple additions too it to a more adult level. I found this right before making tomato soup for supper. I tried the addition of Greek yogurt, but forgot to measure.  While it had to be thinned with some whole milk, this is one addition I am up for keeping up my sleeve.


In an effort to find information to support a point of mine involving siblings and arguing, I came across the following 3 links. While they all belong to the same website, the first really hitting home. I have been feeling that this is an underlying issue in our home, but have not been able to put it into words. While our kids deal with childhood trauma, developmental delays, speech issues, attention issues (due to trauma?), and other labels, there has been something as of late (building in the last 12 months or so) that has been holding us all back.  I have started seeing it in how the kids treat and talk to each other, especially when they are mad.  I was having trouble pinpointing it. After reading this it felt like someone went into my brain and decoded my feelings.

Out Of Control Child, Stopping The Family Anxiety

Learn To Love Your Difficult Child

Outbursts And Temper Tantrums

Update: I was able to talk with a professional about the first article, and the one from last week.  This is a person who knows our family history and dynamics.  It is always good to get an outside perspective on how things are playing out, especially if you tend to be like me – over analyzing and internalizing everything.  This person said while part of the issues in our home are from Family Anxiety, which honestly is a part of every family and something we all have to learn to live with, that is not the main reason.  Yes, the idea of it had been causing me anxiety.  🙂  

I did use the reminders in the second two articles as encouragement.  When it feels as if we are surrounded by neural-typical kids and trauma-free families, I need the encouragement to keep doing what I am doing.  This is especially true when it feels like what I am doing looks like I am babying my kids or not being stern enough.  This is why I held the hand of my 6 year old all through the second half of our field trip yesterday and let him stand on my feet while I swayed him back and forth and he hung his head and watched reflections in the puddles on the walkways.  It was an action I would have done with a toddler, but it is what he needed (vestibular sensory activity, help with boundaries, staying on track, etc.).  Yes, he wanted to run around with the older boys, exploring the edge of a pond 100’s of yards away from us, opening doors to see what was behind them, touching everything in sight, kicking poles to see what would happen, playing follow the leader through the group of people listening to the presenter … not exactly what you should be doing while visiting a maple syrup business and a commercial green house.  So, as the parent I gave him what he really needed, even if he thought it would be more fun to “see what this does.”  Boy, he does keep you on your toes.


Here are a few pdf’s and links talking about starting transplants at home.  Just like listening to Christmas Carols all through December gets you in the mood for Christmas, reviewing information on growing transplants gets me excited to get started on my own.

Iowa State University Extension “Starting Garden Transplants At Home

Utah State University “Grow Your Own Transplants At Home

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension “Timely Tips on Starting Seedlings At Home

tomato seedlings 2013