Meal Planning

With a large family, it is just a given that there is a lot to do around here! With homeschooling the kids, and trying to keep the house at least livable, stopping to figure out what to feed these ravenous little monsters can be quite a challenge!

For awhile, I faithfully kept a menu planned. Somewhere between child four and five, I stopped. I recently tried finding the form on the web that I had used before, only to my complete frustration, I could not find it! I came across many great resources for “household management” forms, but could not find one that had the layout I wanted. So, a grand idea hits me! I am a pretty smart chicka, I can make one myself! I wanted a four week menu that covered all seven days, not just week days. I also wanted to include an afternoon snack, so I squeezed that in, between lunch and dinner.

So, obviously, when you see the B, L, S, D, they stand for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. I even found some cute clip art to represent different food groups!   There is not a ton of space to write, but I like to see all four weeks at a glance, so I don’t repeat similar meals too often.  Also, there is a second, blank page, for some reason.  If you print, just print “page 1”.

The following link should allow you to print, but will not allow any changes to the form.

I would love your feedback!

MonthlyMenu-signed

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Yummy Brussels Sprouts

How can yummy and Brussel sprouts go in the same sentence? When you follow these directions, it can! My kids actually ask me to cook Brussel sprouts! It is so easy, too!

Raw Brussel sprouts
Olive oil
Onions, finely chopped
Bacon (either packaged crumbles, or cook some and crumble it)
Salt and pepper

Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Shred desired amount of raw Brussel sprouts with your food processor. I actually process about half with the blade on “shred” side, then flip the blade to “slice” for the rest.

Sauté the onions, add Brussel sprouts. Stir to mix well and coat with oil. I put the lid on, removing every few minutes to stir. Cook about 20 minutes, or until desired doneness. Season to taste.

Delicious!!!

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Rolos Turtle Cookies

Ok, now I am all about healthy eating, and all that. But sometimes you just have to have some good ole comfort food!

The kids wanted some cookies, so we started scrounging around to see what we could make, since I found myself out of chocolate chips! We found a partial bag of Rolos and a chocolate cake mix and a little bit of pecans in the cabinet, which led to these…

ROLOS TURTLE COOKIES

1 pkg chocolate cake mix
2 large eggs
1 stick real butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
A handful of Rolos, about a cup, cut into quarters

Preheat oven to 350. Stir together cake mix, eggs, butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir in pecans and Rolos. Drop by tablespoons onto GREASED (Rolos stick) cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool on sheet for just a couple of minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

Results are one amazing, chewy, turtle like cookie!

You can switch up this basic recipe with other flavors of cake mix and add ins to create all kinds of cookies!

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Slow Down

Busy, busy, busy. Things to do, places to be, clean the house, work, work, work. Day in and day out! I can’t believe summer is upon us! Where did spring go? My, how time flies!
It’s easy to get so caught up in all the craziness of everyday things that we really miss the things that are so important! You were cooking dinner and working in the kitchen while your 5 year old was chatting and you were saying “uh huh, uh huh”, weren’t you? But what was he saying? Were you really listening?
There is a road close to our house that we drive down quite regularly, several times a week. It is a beautiful country road with trees lining one side, and a field on the other. Much like any other country road, it seems.
To appreciate the true beauty, and discover all the little hidden details, you have to walk down that road. For if you walk, you will find this quaint little trickling stream. You’ll he intoxicated with the scent of wildflowers all along the way. You may just spot a squirrel. You’ll hear the birds singing. You’ll definitely make some wonderful memories with your children.
Just remember to slow down. Getting caught up in the rush, hurrying through everything, you just might be missing more than you think. Enjoy the life God gave you! Slow down!

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Dear Baby

Dear Precious Baby,

I love looking at your sweet little face while you’re nursing. I love how your eyes roll back, like it is the best thing on earth. I love watching your little chin quiver as you drink your milk. I love how you open your eyes just a little, as though you want to make sure I am taking it all in, admiring your innocent beauty. I love how you can find my fingers to hold with your eyes closed. I love your sweet baby smell. I love that God created my body perfectly, that I can give you the nourishment you need to grow healthy and strong. I love how I feel my heartbeat when I hold you.

I love you.

Mommy

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My Not So Facebook Life

I was talking to a friend this week. (You’ll figure out who you are in a minute!) She said she just doesn’t know how I do it, taking care of five children! I replied with a sigh “it is so crazy at our house!” She looked at me with a mixture of surprise and confusion, and says, “you know it’s funny how Facebook can give such a picture of your life, like it’s just all nice and peaceful all the time!” Or something like that.

Ha! The Facebook Illusion! You know what I’m talking about, don’t act like you don’t! Everyone posts all these details of their life in there, for the whole world to see! But only the good moments, right? You do, after all, want everyone to think you have the perfect life, right? We do it without even thinking about it! You don’t want to post the crazy, bad stuff! People might figure out that you’re a normal person, lol.

Like that day you were at the park, and your son, who has been potty trained forever, poops his pants! Or the day one of your kids almost killed one of the others! Or that sometimes your house is NOT spotless! Or about finding a washer full of cheese puffs at midnight, as you’re throwing in a load of whites…

Yeah, that is my Not So Facebook Life 🙂

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Baby in charge

This will probably be a short post, as the title gives you a hint as to who decides how much time I have to myself! I am writing this, sitting in my van, in our church parking lot. Why, you’re wondering? Because I am DESPARATE for the baby to get a nap! Daddy is in the church with the other four children, yes, being a brave man with three and five year old boys on a Sunday night! So thankful for a brave husband, willing to go to the front lines for his woman! Baby sister fell asleep on the way here, so I am stealing a little bit of quiet time! Going to (GASP) play on my phone now…are mommies allowed to have time for that? I guess baby will decide!

A Day In The Shoe

Just a typical day around here today. Woke up at 7:00 am, to two kids up, three still sleeping, and Daddy leaving for work. Yay, I got to go to the bathroom by myself, and managed to brew a cup of coffee. before they were all up! Nursed the baby. Made some Cocoa Wheats for breakfast, which they devoured.

Started our day school day with some kids worship music, and a Bible story on DVD, while I nursed the baby again. Then the kids were hungry again! Finished off the last of the banana bread we made yesterday, with some milk and cut up fruit. Got the two older girls working on their actual book work while I spent a little time with the younger ones. Should probably tell you, that time is usually spent trying to keep the boys from tackling each other to the floor! Managed to get through a game of Memory without the boys killing each other, and nurse the baby…again.

All too soon, time for lunch! Today we had fish sticks, pierogies, and carrots, with milk. I think these kids are a bottomless pit sometimes! I have to add in the part where I thought it would be a good idea to let them have “recess” for 20 minutes outside, while I got lunch together. After just a few minutes, I hear crying, so I run outside! Ahhh, my daughter has been hit in the forehead with a softball! Major goose egg, and lines on her head to match the lines on the ball! What was I thinking, letting them go outside?! Everyone is concerned, babying her and fighting now over who gets to take her the icepack!

After lunch and the goose egg incident, it was nap time, finally! Got the 3 and 5 year old boys down within just a few minutes, they were exhausted from all the fighting they had done! I made sure the girls had plenty of work they could do without me direct help, before I settled down to nurse the baby and get her down for a nap. She went right to sleep today. Let’s see, all three little ones sleeping at the same time, which is very rare, what should I do? Take a nap, you say? I sure did! Got to close my eyes for an hour and a half! Yes!

When they all got up, they wanted into their Easter candy, so I gave in, just a few pieces…while I nursed the baby, again.

Then I remembered my oldest has softball practice! Got them all loaded up in the van, drove 10 minutes away to drop her off, since we are in the middle of nowhere in a rural county, and came back home with the others. Time for Daddy to be home from work! Some relief! Just enough time to heat up the lasagna leftover from last night, scarf it down, and do a pick up from practice!

Seemingly, the day is winding down, right? Haha, not around here! You see, I had come up with this hair-brained idea, I’m pretty good for that! I have been bugging my husband for two years now about getting chickens, to no avail! I really want chickens! Well, I talked him into us all picking the daughter up from practice, and taking the kids all to Rural King to see the baby chicks! I had thoroughly done my research online. I’m pretty good for that, too. I devised this whole plan to convert our small shed into a chicken coop! It can be done, eHow tells you how to do it! So….Rural King had some ISA Browns on sale, half price! So….we bought 25! Along a few basics, some feed and bedding, and a heat lamp. We’re in business now! I am so excited!

Oh, yeah, still had to stop at the grocery to grab a few things, since I won’t get back in town for a few days. Finally got home around 10:00! Got the kiddos all to bed, put the groceries away, did a quick clean up, and finished off some dishes that didn’t get done earlier. You would think I would go to bed. But, I have really been wanting to make some homemade yogurt! I bought one small, high quality container to be my starter, and it was just itching to be opened! So…I started the yogurt. Took one hour, start to finish. It should be ready in the morning, if it works out well, maybe I’ll write a post about that.

Still couldn’t go to bed yet. The wheels in my head just never want to stop turning! I have really been wanting to start this blog! What better time than tonight! I already went crazy and bought 25 chickens, so why not write about one crazy day for this woman in this crazy shoe with all these crazy kids?

Now, I will sleep. After I nurse the baby that is waking up! 🙂

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Happy Homemaking 101-1

What’s For Dinner???

Do you sometimes (or ALL the time) feel completely overwhelmed by maintaining your home? All the cleaning and cooking never ends! This is true whether you are a stay at home mom or you work outside the home, isn’t it? It is also true whether you homeschool or send your children to public or private school, am I right? No matter what scenario describes your family, life is always so busy!

That is why I decided to start this blog. As a very busy homeschooling mom of 4, I would like to share some of my ideas for making the hilly, bumpy road of homemaking a little bit smoother! I will try to add a new thought or idea each night, unless a major disaster or bout of fatigue interrupts!

Let’s start with feeding that ravenous family of yours…Do you often find yourself near dinnertime, or even past dinnertime, having no idea what is for dinner? Come on, admit it, you know you do! That is about to end! First thing your’re going to do is come up with a plan!

Grab a pen and paper….Got one yet?….Still waiting….Ok, good!

Now, think of at least 2-4 easy to fix dinners that your family would be happy to eat once a week or every other week. These are going to be your “staple dinners”. Want to know what ours are? Grilled cheese and soup, spaghetti, breakfast and pizza. Now, set a specific day for these “staple dinners”. Consider which days you always have activities to attend in the evening and plan on something simple for that day.

For example at our house, Monday is grilled cheese & soup day. I make large batches of soup and freeze, I’ll talk about that another day! Canned soup is fine, though.

Wednesday we have church and need something simple, so it is spaghetti day.

Thursday is always breakfast night, usually Special Scrambled Eggs and toast. I will add the egg recipe at the end. Sometimes we have pancake or waffle night, with toppings such as chocolate chips, peanut butter, strawberries and whipped cream, which is really a hit with the kids!

Friday is always pizza night. I use Jiffy Pizza Crust Mix and jarred pizza sauce, you can add whatever toppings you like! My kids love helping make the pizza!

Plan to use your Staple Dinners on a night that fits that meal. Use your simplest Staple Dinners on your busiest evenings! You will soon be on the path to Happy Homemaking! Get started working on your Staple Dinner Menu!

In the coming blogs, I will be have more tips on meal planning, as well as simplifying other areas of homemaking!

To Be Continued…

Special Scrambled Eggs

 1 Dozen Large Eggs

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

1/4 Cup Chives

Salt and Pepper, optional (tastes fine without it)

Preheat a large non-stick skillet over med-low heat for approximately 5 minutes.  Drop a bit of water in the skillet, when it sizzles and disappears, the skillet is hot enough! While skillet is preheating, whisk all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl for about 2 minutes, until well mixed and ‘frothy’.  Add to skillet.  For fluffier eggs, do NOT stir the eggs until they begin to set!  Once they begin to set, gently use a spatula to carefully lift sections and turn.  This will make for larger, fluffier scrambled egg.  Just trust me!  (When you over stir, you could get tiny little pieces of rubbery eggs, not good.) Continue to cook and gently move/flip the eggs until they look done. Remove from heat.  Enjoy!

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