Tuesday, September 29, 2009

OOPS! I did it again!! I forgot Menu Plan Monday!!!

Darn! I knew I would do this...I just have soo much going on right now!! Well, better late than never, right?? Ok...well, here's my menu...albeit a day late!! : ) I'm going to try something different this week. Since we're homeschoolers, I like to plan for all of our snacks, etc., that way there's no question about what the kiddos will be eating and when. I do a carbohydrate type food for our AM snacks, and a Fruit or Veggie (most of the time) for PM Snacks.

I find that when I plan this way, the snacking isn't quite so irregular, I am less tempted to buy junk food, and I can save tons on my grocery bill because the kids know that there is something planned for them and they don't go on an all out raid of the pantry!! I actually still do the 5 week Menu Plan I mentioned in an earlier post...boy, does it save me a lot of headaches!! I usually switch it up in the Spring/Summer months so that the menus fit with the seasons...who wants to be eating hot soup on a hot summer day, right?? Anyway...here's what we'll be having this week:


Breakfast: Cereal

AM Snack: Yogurt

Lunch: FAIR FOOD!!


Dinner: Chicken Fajitas

Dessert: Popsicles


Breakfast: Sausage Biscuits / Jam

AM Snack: Cereal Bars

Lunch: Leftover Fajitas

PM Snack: grapes

Dinner: Lasagna / Salad / Breadsticks

Dessert: Ice Cream


Breakfast: Buttered Cinnamon Toast

AM Snack: Cheese and Crackers

Lunch: BLT Wraps

PM Snack: grapes

Dinner: Kielbasa/4 Bean Soup (CROCKPOT) and Rice

Dessert: Popsicles


Breakfast: Vanilla Cinnamon Pancakes w/ Warm Maple Syrup

AM Snack: Popcorn

Lunch: Peanut Noodles with Grilled Chicken

PM Snack: Carrot Sticks with Ranch

Dinner: Meat Loaf / Mashed Potatoes / Corn

Dessert: Brownies


Breakfast: Sunshine Smoothies

AM Snack: Muffin

Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup / Crackers

PM Snack: Chocolate Pudding with Graham Cracker Sticks

Dinner: Mexican Chicken (make 1 / freeze 1)

Dessert: Ice Cream


Breakfast: Muffins

AM Snack: Cheese and Crackers

Lunch: Chicken Club Lettuce Wraps

PM Snack: Tootie Fruitie Parfaits

Dinner: PIZZA (Family Movie / Game Night!!)

Dessert: Brownies

Saturday: GAME DAY!!! GO HOGS GO!!!

Breakfast: Cereal

AM Snack: Popcorn

Lunch: Make Your Own Sandwich Bar

PM Snack: Chocolate Pudding with Graham Cracker Sticks

Dinner: TAILGATE FARE...Cocktail Sausages, Chips & Cheese Dip, Veggie/Fruit Tray

Dessert: Chocolate Chip Cookies

And that's all, folks!! Be sure and stop by I'm an Organizing Junkie for hundreds more menu ideas!!! Ya'll have a great week!! : )

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crock Pot Wednesday


I love my Crock Pot! I especially love it during weeks such as these when everything seems to be going wrong. In an earlier post, I mentioned that we had accepted an offer on our house. Well...guess what?? The unthinkable happened, and the lady backed out because she finally sat down and figured out what her payments would be. Why on earth she didn't do that BEFORE she entered into a contract with us??

UGH! Bygones, right...So anyway, our house is back on the market. We again have realtors calling to schedule appointments...and most of their clients want to schedule it right about dinner time. So instead of eating out - which is nice at first because of the Zero Clean-Up Factor, but incredibly expensibe for a family of 5 - I have started to use my Crock Pot more often. I love it because I can fix it in the morning, and go about my daily Super Mom activities without a worry in the world!

Here's my CrockPot Recipe for the week. Be sure and check out Debbie's blog, Dining With Debbie for more awesome CrockPot Recipes!!

Slow Cooker Oatmeal (aka: Fall in a Bowl!!) - recipe originally found on AllRecipes.com. I usually substitute the water for apple cider if I have it, and I also used whole milk. We LOVE this recipe, and you can't get any easier than this!! Fix it before bed, and your breakfast is ready when you wake up! PLUS, it makes your house smell WONDERFUL!!!!

2 cups steel cut oats
2 cups diced apple
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 cups water
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons butter

Combine the oats, apple, cranberries, almonds, pecans, water, milk, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and butter in a slow cooker. Cook on Low overnight or 8 hours.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday!!

This is my second week to participate in Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie. So far I love it! It has really helped me stay on top of my menu-planning, and I absolutely LOVE getting ideas from other bloggers about the all too common worry: WHAT'S FOR DINNER???

Here's my plan for the week:

Dinners - Even though we've accepted an offer on our house (after only 4 days on the market, Woo Hoo), I'm still going to be using my crockpot for a few things...I just love the convenience of it! Fix it and Forget it!!

Monday - Roast Chicken (make extra), Carmelized Carrots, Salad

Tuesday - Mushroom Jack Fajitas

Wednesday - Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Corn on the Cob

Thursday - Tacos - (Taco Bowl for the hubs - low carb)


Saturday - Game Day!! Brats, Chili, Nachos. Go Razorbacks!!!

Sunday - Potato Bar (use some leftover chili/cheese,too!), Salad


Monday - Ham Sandwiches, Fruit Salad

Tuesday - Chicken Pot Pie (using leftover/made ahead chicken from Monday Night)

Wednesday - Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks

Thursday - BLT Roll-ups, Applesauce

Friday - Ravioli Casserole, Pineapple Chunks

Saturday - Game Day Food (see above)

Sunday - Fish Sticks, Fries

Breakfasts -

Monday - Sausage Biscuits

Tuesday - Pancakes

Wednesday - Cheese Toast

Thursday - Breakfast Pizza

Friday - Sunshine Smoothies

Saturday / Sunday - Cereal, Fresh Fruit

Well, there you have it! Don't forget to stop by I'm an Organizing Junkie, and check out the other (over 200??) bloggers who link up their menus as well!! Helpful and LOTS OF FUN!!!

Ya'll have a great week!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Get Ready, Get Set...CLEAN! (Long Post Alert!!)

With the start of the new school year, and with our house in the final stages of sale, I have found myself a little overwhelmed with keeping our house picture perfect. We've had realtors calling to schedule showings - not all of them giving lots of notice. If you've ever had your house on the market, you know what I'm talking about.

I sometimes get asked how I manage to keep our house looking picture perfect while it's on the market, while at the same time trying to homeschool 2 children. I think I've figured out a good plan for our family and thought I'd share it here.

First and foremost, I am a firm believer that children need chores. I saw an idea at Life is Not a Cereal for a reward system, and I thought this would be a good starting place for inspiration. Her kiddos are a little younger than my main chore-doers, so I had to devise my own plan (I am not posting my actual charts, because I do not want to take away from Jenni's idea - she's the brains behind this whole idea - I just had to tweak mine a little to fit our chore needs). But I loved the Treasure Chest / Jewel system so much, I decided to incorporate her idea into our plan. I went to Oriental Trading Co. and found these neat metal Treasure Chest Banks. While there, I also purchased a large supply of Marti Gras coins (the jewels were just soooo expensive). I had to make the slits in the top of the banks a little bigger, but it was nothing my kitchen shears couldn't handle!

But I began to notice that my children needed more than a choice of what chores to do, so I made them each a list of REQUIRED chores to be done daily - broken down into morning and afternoon chores. For each chore, they earn a coin. If they want to earn extra coins, they have to pull a card from our Chore File, which has various different options for chores, as well as the details about how they know when that area is clean. I've found that if I don't do this, they will rush through them without actually cleaning anything.

Also posted on the fridge, alongside their Chore Lists, is a Reward List...similar in theory to Jenni's from Life is Not a Cereal. I asked the kids what rewards they'd like to see, and we sat down and made the list together. They "spend" their coins for various "priced" rewards. We have "inexpensive" rewards like Bubble Bath and Makeover with Mommy (for the girls, of course), but we also have "expensive" rewards like a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. This way, they view their reward as a goal to be reached by being responsible family members, they get a nice math lesson in "money" and "counting," AND they learn to save up for the things they want the most.

This is working beautifully, by the way...even our 3 year old is participating! And they all love receiving their coins, and putting them in their banks!!

Trey (almost 10) is homeschooled so his morning chores include making his bed, feeding the dog, taking out the trash, and unloading the dishwasher. His afternoon chores include unloading the dishwasher (again...we have a lot of dishes), picking up his bedroom, sweeping/mopping the kitchen, and helping Lindsay with one chore.

Addison (almost 9) attends public school, and has less time in the morning, so her morning chores only include making her bed, and clearing the table after breakfast. Her afternoon chores include picking up/vacuuming the Living Room, picking up the kids' bathroom (until she's older, I still do all the gross stuff), folding clothes, and setting the table for dinner.

Lindsay (almost 4) is in homeschool Pre-K. Her morning chores include clearing her breakfast station, getting dressed without reminding, brushing her hair and teeth by herself, and making her bed. Her afternoon chores include using the Dustbuster to pick up crumbs, etc., Windexing the windows/glass doors, and picking up her bedroom.

These chores are done EVERY DAY. I've found that it is much easier to clean a little every day than have to spend an entire weekend getting it done. Besides, it's FOOTBALL SEASON!! Who wants to be cleaning when the Razorbacks are playing??? GO HOGS!!

In addition to their everyday chores, each family member is officially responsible for doing their own laundry. Each person has their own laundry basket with their name on it, and they have their own day of the week in which they do their laundry. Since Lindsay is still a little one, I still help her with hers, but she is required to be there and do most of the work. She's gotta learn sometime, right?? There is also a laundry basket in the kids' bathroom for towels. Since I'm home, I do my husband's laundry for him unless I'm sick, etc. I do towels and sheets on Sunday.

If everyone is responsible, and adheres to their daily chore lists, my chores can get done more efficiently. Every morning, after Addie gets on the bus, I do a load of dishes, put something for dinner in the crockpot, and wipe down all the counters and kitchen sink. I grab a few paper towels, my Swiffer Duster, and hook a bottle of Simple Green to the front pocket of my jeans (FINALLY a use for that tiny little pocket!!). Then I make my way to the back of the house, checking each room to see if it needs attention. My rule of thumb is to do a general pick up on my way to the BACK of the house (with a trash bag in hand), and do a thorough cleaning on my way back to the FRONT.
I then throw everything into the trashbag I've been carrying, and take it outside. I keep a caddy full of cleaning supplies in each bathroom as well so I don't have to carry that all over the house.

Addie usually gets on the bus at 7:20 am, and I'm ALWAYS done by 8:30am. We start school at 9am sharp. This gives us a nice clean house to start our day with. We're usually in the homeschool classroom, or kitchen for most of the day. So their bedrooms don't usually get messy until after school time. Hence the reason I listed that chore as an afternoon chore. (Ahaa!! Method to my madness!!!) :)

This method has worked well for us. I only hope we can keep it up during the moving/transistion process!!! :) Feel free to post your own cleaning schedules/ideas!! I love reading from others how they manage kids, house, etc.! Happy Cleaning Ya'll!! :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Ok, so I figured I don't have enough to do with homeschooling 2 children, running to the public school bus with another, and all of the other necessary daily duties of a stay-at-home/homeschool mom - who also happens to have her house on the market with realtors calling frequently to request a showing. So I thought I'd add another fun thing to my weekly routine. MENU PLAN MONDAY!!!

Ya'll all know how OCD I am by now, I'm sure. And you all know how I love to menu-plan...so when I found this weekly blog assignment at I'm an Organizing Junkie, I actually viewed it as an opportunity for some ME time...my own personal Calgon moment, if you will. Is it sad that I get stress relief from planning more stuff to do?

Anyway...this is how it works: Every Monday, I will (attempt to) share my menus for the week. I will probably not have photos, as meal time at our house usually resembles your local zoo feeding time. But I may get a few here and there! For more ideas on menus and planning (not to mention incredible organizing ideas), visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Dinners - This week, I'm doing a lot of CrockPot type meals - just because they're easy to walk away from if the realtor shows up unexpectedly and kicks us out for an hour. :)

Monday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup - Cornbread

Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin / Homemade Mashed Potatoes / Green Beans

Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas (using extra made ahead chicken from Monday)
Thursday: Beef Stew / Cornbread

Friday: Pizza - (Friday is our Family Pizza & a Movie Night)

Saturday: GAME DAY FOOD: Cheese Dip, Chips, Brats on the Grill (GO RAZORBACKS!!!)
Sunday: Baked Pork Chops / Roasted Herb Potatoes

Lunches -

Monday: Ravioli / Crackers / Milk

Tuesday: Leftover Chicken Noodle Soup / Crackers

Wednesday: Grilled Cheese / Carrot Sticks

Thursday: BBQ Sandwiches (with leftover pork tenderloin)

Friday: Ham and Cheese Pinwheels / Raisin-Carrot Salad
Saturday: Game Day Food (see above)
Sunday: Leftovers

Breakfasts -

Monday - Doughnuts

Tuesday - Blueberry Waffles

Wednesday - Fruit Smoothies

Thursday - Eggs / Bacon

Friday - Muffins

Saturday / Sunday - Cereal / Fruit

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Here We Go Again!

Well, it's that time of year again! Addison and I went for Meet the Teacher Night on August 19, and she started the 3rd grade on August 24th. She is still attending the Math and Engineering school. She loves her new teacher (although she really misses her teacher from last year). She loves being in school - I think she has a certain (hereditary??) obsession with school supplies. Since this school works a year ahead of other public schools, we had a long talk about how much faster the 3rd grade moves than the 2nd grade. I'm not worried...she's firecracker smart. She's constantly blowing the curve, and she loves learning new things, but I felt a responsibility to at least make the speech, you know?

Addie before Meet the Teacher Night

Also new to her this year is the bus. Mind you, we live maybe a mile from the school...if that. And if they had sidewalks, she could, theoretically, walk - if I wasn't such a paranoid parent who refuses to let her children out of her sight by themselves. I rather enjoy our short trips to and from school because we always act silly and I inevitably embarrass all the kids with my somewhat rusty 80's dance moves, so I was a little reluctant to give up our little trips! But Addison really wanted to ride the bus like a "big girl," so I chose to let her ride.

This picture perfectly captures her personality!

This has actually turned into a blessing for both of us. Addison loves being able to gain a little "big girl" independence and walk in the front door and say, "I'm Ho-ome!" And I love being able to let the other kids sleep while Addie and I spend quiet time together eating our breakfast and doing her hair. Our mornings are not as rushed, and I'm not as stressed. So what first began as a guilty feeling of lost time with Addie, turned out to be a blessing of more one-on-one time together. I still secretly wish I could homeschool her, but I am content that God has a plan for us all and for now His Plan has her in public school.

First Day of School!!!

Trey will pick back up on his lessons on Sept. 14. For those who don't know, he began the 4th grade back in April. We took a couple of months off over the summer so we could focus on remodeling our house. We're almost done with the house, and we can't wait to get back into the swing of homeschooling again.

Our first Homeschool Association meeting was held on September 3rd. It looks like there will be a LOT more field trips, learning opportunities, elective classes, choir opportunities, etc., and LOTS of new members! So we can't wait! Trey will be a member of 4H this year, as well as Choir. We're looking into Orchestra, as well; although we're not sure if we can afford it yet. We will also be attending Park Day and Bowling Day-each once a month. Who says homeschooled kids aren't socialized?? I swear, Trey and Lindsay's social calendars are more full than Addie's. Crazy, right?

The only thing I really worry about with Trey is his dress. He would stay in his pajamas all day if I'd let him! And some days he has! I'm thinking of enforcing a dress code this year! How funny would that be?

Here's wishing everyone a wonderful school year!!!