Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In Our House

I received in the mail yesterday a gift from a friend and I have to say I agree with the note that was attached that this saying fits us as a family perfectly. Now to find the perfect place to hang it.

In Our House

We do second chances

We say prayers

We do I'm sorry's

We do loud really well

We give hugs

We do love

We are Family

Monday, December 27, 2010

Menu Planning Monday Dec 27

This week we are working on making some changes to our diet as a family. I learned long ago that it is a waste if the kids won't eat it, so we are making these changes slowly, testing each change as we go along. Since the kids have no school this week some of the bigger changes are breakfast, and since this week is also a shopping week adding some more fruits and veggies.


Monday- Baked oatmeal with apples, juice, and a banana

Tuesday- Blender Waffles or pancakes, 1/2 apple, orange juice

Wednesday- Cearl , milk, banana

Thursday- Eggs, toast, pears, juice

Friday- french toast, cantaloupe, juice, milk

Saturday- mom's choice

Sunday- Muffin, banana, milk, juice


Monday- Turkey Pot Pie, salad, pineapple

Tuesday- Cheesy Beans and Rice, salad, green beans, applesauce

Wednesday- Chicken and Biscuits, salad, peas, fruit salad

Thursday- Chicken Fajitas, salad, apple slices

Friday- Chicken and dumplings, salad, carrots, watermelon

Saturday- Leftovers

Sunday-Meatloaf, potato, green beans,salad, bread, baked apples

Lunches - are not planned this week, they are more grazing then anything.

This is linked at Organizing Junkie

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thrifty Thursday- Using Leftovers

One big point of waste in any food budget can be leftovers, I really noticed it this summer when I was working. I wasn't home to re- purpose the leftovers , the kids followed the menu, just adding more left overs to the fridge, which usually found themselves in the trash at the end of the week.

We don't usually serve leftovers as just reheated food, mostly because there never is quite enough for all, and they go over better if re-made into another meal. I keep a running list of meals that can be made out of different leftovers right now the list is in my head, but I am working on getting it onto paper.

Ham and potatoes for dinner, turn the leftovers into a egg casserole, layer the potatoes, then ham diced, and then top with some cheddar cheese and enough beaten egg to cover. Bake at 350 till done.

Only left over potatoes - fry them up for breakfast.

Leftover taco meat, cheese, and soft shell tortilla- beat some eggs, scramble the taco meat and eggs together, serve wrapped in a tortilla topped with cheese and taco sauce or even tomato if you have them.

Leftover chili - boil some noodles, mix in chili.

Leftover chicken and rice- make fried rice

Odd pieces of meat save them for pizza night and have chicken or ground beef on top of the pizza.

How do you re- use leftovers ?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Works For me Wednesday - Childern Clothes Shopping

We are a family of eight, six of them children who didn't seem to get the message that growing should be done in a staggered manner, one child every 2 months. These children usually decide to grow in groups, for instance this week three of them have grown out of there pants. I was prepared for one to grow the youngest and had on hand 5T's and regular size 4 which for some reason are the same size. But the other two have been the same size for the last year or more and I had given up hope that they would ever grow any taller, no their bodies were just waiting for the week before Christmas to grow.

I buy most of my children's clothes at the local thrift store for the younger kids and teens, and Plato Closet for the teens. So that means shopping has to be done with a plan, I keep a notebook with there current sizes, and needs. When I do my bi- weekly shopping I usually stop in the thrift store and take a look for what is on the list, if is not on the list I try very hard not to get it, but there are times I bend that rule usually for spider man shirts that a certain boy loves. This allows us to clothe the children in nice clothing that our budget will allow, and not become over run by clothes. This has rubbed off on the teens to, when they have there own money to buy clothes with and head to the mall they go straight to the back of the stores where the clearance racks are. They have learned that if you wait and shop carefully you rarely have to pay full price.

I do get the boys t-shirts in a store that you really wouldn't think of looking for clothes, and that is Ac Moore. I wait until they have there 5 for 10 sale on t-shirts and stock up on solid color t-shirts for them, and if they are ruined in hard play that is ok. I also try to make sure to have clothing money put away for when Old Navy has there 60% off clearance prices sale at the end of each season.

In the case of a sneak attack growth spurt we have Plan B, first we check to see if there are any clothes that might work in the other kids closets for the short term. This usually works for the older three boys, but not so much for the girls. Then we head to the thrift store as soon as we can and try to find at least 3 pair of pants to get them started, if there is nothing there in their size then we will head to the regular store and hope to find some on sale. Then there new sizes and needs are added to the list and over the course of the next month or two we fill out the wardrobe.

This post is linked at Works for Me Wednesday

Teacher cookie box recipies

The teacher cookie boxes were a success, all the teachers loved them and I like to give teachers gifts that are consumable to not add clutter to there homes.

The first cookie is a very yummy chocolate cookie with chocolate chips, topped with a Hersey kiss. With that much chocolate it has to be yummy.  Aidan was in charge of placing the Hersey Kiss on top and he did a very good job.
                                                 Picture from The Farm Girl Recipes Blog

Chocolate- cookies with Christmas cookies

Next up was these coconut cookies, the only change I made was instead of frosting them I dipped them in melting chocolate.

Coconut Cookies

Then it was Chocolate covered graham crackers, and that is easy, just dip graham crackers into chocolate, let dry on wax paper, then using a fork dipped in white chocolate drizzle the white on top.

Next up snickerdoodles, and that recipe comes from my old red checkered Better Homes cookbook, Snickerdoodles and you can tell it is a favorite around here as the page is splattered and there a pencil markings showing how to triple the recipe. I like snickerdoodles as they are a easy cookie to make with young children. Rolling a ball shape and then rolling in cinnamon sugar is fun for any kid and easy on the mom to. We did change it a bit this year by dipping the top of the balls in Andes mint chips instead of rolling in cinnamon this year.

Sugar cookies were done using this recipe Best Rolled Sugar Cookies  the best one I have ever worked with, thank you to a friend the same one with the coconut recipe, that made me aware of that recipe. You don't even need to roll it, it is soft enough to flatten out with your hands.

Another kid favorite is dipping pretzel sticks in chocolate and then rolling in sprinkles, that is a bit more of a mess but is a lot of fun. And once you run out of sprinkles just dip in one color chocolate and drizzle with another color. Quick and easy, when I had forgot that I was supposed to take cookies to church, I made a bunch of these up in the time it took the kids to get ready to leave the house.

Picture from Google Images

       This year I did end up getting clam- shell containers from the local restaurant store, that made it easier to move the cookies from home to school and made a nice presentation, with some tissue paper added.

Sorry no pictures of the sugar cookies as the camera died, but each box got 2-4 sugar cookies added.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 12/20

My college aged son who is home for break requested that we not have chicken this week, as that is all he has eaten for 3 months. So this weeks menu is heavy on the beef  , there is a bird in the menu but it's a turkey.


Monday- Spaghetti and meatballs, stuffed pepper

Tuesday- Meatloaf and mashed potatoes, corn

Wednesday- Hamburgers and Mac and cheese, carrots

Thursday- Sloppy Joe's and French Fries, green beans

Friday- Potato and Corn Chowder, cheese and crackers,

Saturday- Turkey, stuffing, potato, veggie, cranberry sauce

Sunday- Leftovers


Monday- Wednesday- cereal as the kids are still in school

Thursday- egg burritos

Friday- Waffles

Saturday- Daddy cooks- eggs, hash browns, sausage, toast,  croissants , juice, hot coco

Sunday- Muffins


Monday- Wednesday - Packed Lunches

Thursday- leftovers and/ or ramen noodle soup

Friday- pasta and beans

Saturday- cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, tea sandwiches - since breakfast is more of a brunch and dinner is earlier then normal.

Once again highlighted items are ready to go meals or meal parts from the freezer.

This post is also linked up at  Organizing Junkie

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday is for Books - The Dragon and the Turtle

This week's book is called The Dragon and the Turtle, written by Donita K. Paul and Evangeline Denmark, illustrated by Vincent Nguyen. This delightful children's book is about a young dragon named Padraig ,and a young turtle named Roger. Padraig  loves eating his bugs, but when he comes across a turtle named Roger who is lost he takes the time to help his new friend.

 Even when finding Roger's home is harder then he thought it would be, he keeps on looking with a cheerful attitude. The storyline also covers the lesson that even though two people do not like all the same things you can still be friends.
The illustrations were detailed and helped to tell the story, after reading the story my 4 year old was able to re-tell the story using the illustrations to guide him. I also found the  discussion guide in the back helpful in asking him guiding questions, and the recipe in the back for the cookies mentioned throughout the book was a nice addition.

Any book that has my 4 year old  willingly picking it up and looking at it, belongs on our shelves.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - on a Friday morning

Yesterday got a bit out of hand between a early morning dentist apt, helping at school, Girl Scouts, and life in general. So here is Thrifty Thursday on a Friday.

Last week I talked about what to pack lunches in, this week some ideas on what to pack in the lunches.

The main idea is think big and pack small.

The average lunch in our home has one sandwich ( 2 for active teen boys), a fruit /veggie, a snack, and sweet.

Sandwiches- I asked the kids what the like to eat in there lunches as far as sandwich fillings, and as much as giving them the same sandwich each day makes me cringe, that is what they want. So for bread we use the white whole wheat, and filling options are PB and Jelly, Bonogla, Ham, Turkey, and on some days tuna fish or egg salad. Right now the lunches are Dad- Ham, Conner- Bologna, Sarah- Turkey, Nolan - PB and Jelly, Kat- likes to change it up between tuna, ham, and peanut butter. In order to keep lunch meat fresh, when I buy the big pack of turkey or ham I only place what will be eaten in one week in the fridge the rest of the package heads to the freezer.

Fruits and Veggies - this includes carrots, celery, salad, apples, bananas, grapes, pears, applesauce, oranges and so on. For fruits like apples and bananas I buy the smallest ones I can find, for things like applesauce buy the big jar and then package small for lunch. Oranges cut into slices and then use a 1/2  a orange for each lunch.  We also eat the fruit that is season or cheapest. So in the spring when strawberries are out the children will find strawberries in there lunches, and in the winter when citrus is cheaper more oranges.

Snacks- once again buy the big bag and give the kids a serving size, so for example the average bag of pretzels is bought for 1.29, and has 11 servings in the bag. We use pretzels, tortilla chips ( with salsa in a small cup), sometimes chips, popcorn, graham crackers, and so on in this category.

Sweets- this is yogurt , pudding, a cookie, jello,quick bread once again bought big and repacked small. Yogurt is bought in the quart size, pudding I buy in the large #10 can from Sam's for about 4.00, and that makes about 22 smaller servings. Jello buy the big boxes and make your own in smaller cups.

If school lunches are 1.70 a day for grade school, and 1.80 a day for the older children and a husbands lunch out is 4.00 ( if he sticks to the dollar menu ), and on average it costs me 1.00 or less to pack there lunches. The weekly savings alone is over 30 dollars a week, over the course of a year that is a tidy bit, and worth the time for me to plan and get up a little bit before them to help in the lunch making.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday - Teacher Gifts

Yesterday I sat down and counted all the teachers the children have between school and church and to comes to about 30 and I am sure I missed someone. With this many people to say thank you for the time and energy you put into my kids and with my kids that is a lot of energy, what to do for gifts that won't break the budget.

In the past I have done coffee cups, with hot coca packets, and chocolate dipped pretzels, marshmallow snowmen, and cookies on a stick. But this year since the number of adults involved has grown, we are doing cookie plates. Just simple paper plates piled high with goodies, wrapped up, and delivered with a smile and probably a hug if you are one Aidan or Kat's teacher.

On the plates are going to be sugar cookies, chocolate dipped pretzels, snicker doodles, chocolate dipped graham crackers, chocolate covered marshmallows, chocolate covered coconut cookies, crusciki, and whatever else catches our eye.

Recipes and pictures to follow on Saturday once these are all made and ready to go.

This post is also linked at Works for Me Wednesday

And here is the link to all the recipies Teacher Box Cookie Recipies

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dutch Baby- Recipe

Yesterday we tried a new recipe in the house and for the most part it went over well, being my first try it wasn't very pretty but it did taste great. Nolan loved it, Conner liked it , I enjoyed it, Don ate it, and the younger two each tried it ( I think if it had looked better they would have eaten more), and in this house that means you will find this on the menu again.

This picture is not the one I made, mine wasn't picture worthy, as I think I mixed things up to much.

Dutch Baby, German Pancake , or just about anything else you might want to call it.

2cups milk
2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 475, melt butter in pan in oven

Beat eggs, add milk, stir in flour and cinnamon pour on top of melted butter. Bake for about 20 min.

I used to glass pans, next time I will try my cast iron, or maybe my cupcake pan.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

This is my first Menu Plan Monday

Dinner Plan

Monday- Dutch Baby w/ applesauce this is the first time I am making this and if it turns out as I hope it does then I will post the recipe on Tuesday.

Tuesday- Three bean Chili w/ rice , cornbread w/ honey butter

Wednesday- Potatoe / Corn Chowder w/ home made bread

Thursday- Chicken and gravy, over bisquits w/ veggie

Friday- Family movie night and dinner out at school. 

Saturday- Chicken Taco's w/ Mexican rice and beans

Sunday- Roast Beef, Applesauce, potatoes, green beans, bread

Breakfast Plan

School Days- cearl, bagels w/ cream cheese

Saturday- Homemade Waffles w/ strawberries

Sunday- Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins

And of course this month I am trying to prepare most of our meals out of the freezer and pantry, to free up space for the big re-stock shop in January / February, and this menu plan does that. Except for the cearl, milk, eggs, all of this is from the freezer or pantry shelves.

The meals highlighted  are freezer meals that are pre- cooked and quick to the table.

This post is linked at I'm an Organizing Junkie

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Aidan's Intro

I thought that it would be a good idea to introduce you to our family one by one, starting at the youngest and working our way up.

So Aidan is the youngest in our home, he is full of energy, and loves to explore the world around him. In the last few months he has learned to write his name and likes to refer to himself by his full name, first, middle, and last. He is always ready for a game of hide and go seek, chase, or tag, once in a while he can even be found looking at books or coloring.

He really wants to be one of the big kids and will tell you each day that he is getting taller, just like his brothers. He will help you with any job you ask from sweeping to shoveling.

Next up Kathryn

It's Sunday time to plan

What to blog about on Sunday's, I guess plans for the week sounds good for today.

My upcoming blog entry's will look something like this :

Monday- Menu planning for the week
Tuesday- Recipes
Wednesday- It Works for me
Thursday- It's all about thrifty ideas
Friday- It's all about the freezer
Saturday- It's all about books

And as far as real life we have some doctor appts, baking, caroling, youth game night, a family movie night out, plus the regular cleaning, laundry and after school activies. I am also looking to fit in some gift wrapping, family dinners, Christmas cards , and maybe even a nap.

So what do you have planned for your week ?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturdays are for Books

In keeping with the idea of a theme for each day so that I will keep on writing, sort of like the journal prompts that teachers use in school, Saturdays theme is going to be books. What I am currently reading, children's books that we love, and some book reviews.

We have a book that was given to us by a friend at church who saw it and thought about our family when he saw it. It is called The Seven Silly Eaters written by Mary Ann Hoberman and iillustrated by Marla Frazee.
It is a story about seven children added to a family one by one and how each one only likes to eat a certain food, and how over time the mom gets very tired trying to make each child happy. But in the end the children learn to help there mother and the family learns to work together.

I really like the illustrations in this books, they really show life in a larger then normal family the good, the bad, and the fun. The illustrations are very detailed, from the pictures on the fridge, to the kids hanging on the door knob, the pictures alone tell a story.

If you have a chance to buy or check this one out from the library you will surly enjoy it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Freezer Friday

Usually on Friday this post will be about what I am adding to the freezer or about what I am planning to get into the freezer. But this month I am trying not to add to the freezer but use it up, so here are some of the meals this week we have enjoyed out of the freezer.

Taco Kits - My daughter told me I cheated with dinner on this one as I walked in the house, into the kitchen and 5 minutes later called everyone for dinner. A taco kit has cooked and seasoned ground beef, cheese , and soft taco shells all in there own bags, place all three things in one large zip lock, and freeze. To make place in fridge in morning ( if you remember), at dinner time heat up the meat, chop some lettuce and tomato, pull out the taco sauce and enjoy. Faster and cheaper then fast food.

Honey Chicken - par- grilled chicken breasts , drizzled with honey and brown sugar freeze. To cook add one can of pineapple and heat. Serve with rice.

Chicken Enchiladas   - used the recipe from here with a few changes for the kids taste buds-Grilled Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas , heat in oven and serve.

 Quiche- this I freeze the parts, in a kit goes 2 pie crusts, cheese, taco meat ( this time we used leftover ham and saved the taco meat for another meal). Pull out add eggs and milk and cook.

And tonight we are having quick chicken soup, using grilled cubed chicken, chicken broth, and veggies, all from the freezer.

Here is another site with some other idea's for freezing food for Christmas :Freezer Friday at Thriving Mama

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

I found this idea on another blog and thought it a great idea starter for Thursday's blog entries, thrifty ideas that our family uses to make the budget stretch.

Today's thrifty ideas are all about weekday lunches, right now I am making 5 packed lunches and 2 of us eat at home on weekdays. Lunches for the two of us at home Aidan and myself are easy and can be summed up in one word " Leftovers".

The other lunches are packed and require a bit more thought, I used to pack mostly leftovers for my husband for lunches but that wasn't working out well as it never failed the day he had leftovers that needed to be heated he would be on the road. Which meant that instead of his packed lunch he ended up eating out, so now I might send leftovers but mostly he gets the same packed lunch as the kids.

Packing lunches does require some up-front costs, but they are mostly one time purchases that can be done with in budget limits. We also live in a area were allot of kids pack lunches, so it is not un-cool for a middle school or high school child to pack a lunch.

1- Lunches boxes, bags - Every time I go to the thrift store I check out the area were they have the lunch boxes looking for ones in good shape, size that I need, and colors that will work ( the boys really don't like pink lunch boxes). Over time we have enough lunch boxes for everyone and a couple extra for those times lunch boxes get left in school or at work. We used to use brown paper bags but have found that paper bags are best left in the craft closet for puppet making.

2- Food containers-  I bought the sandwich sized containers during back to school sales for 50 cents each, two per lunch that is usually packed. I also have a supply of the small round 1/2 cup size containers, and some larger square containers. I also want to get some hot food containers so I just keep on looking at the thrift store and clearance racks to see if there are any there.

3- Drinks- I used to do the whole juice box thing and if I bought the cheap ones they were mostly sugar, and the all juice ones were costly, so this year I bought them all small metal water bottles. They can choose what to put in them usually water and sometimes juice.

4- Utensils- I buy plastic forks and spoons and the kids know to put them back into the their lunch bags and we wash them and re-use. But if for some reason they get tossed or broken not a big deal.

Next week on Thrifty Thursday what to pack in those lunch boxes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Eating Out of the Pantry

This month we are eating most of our meals out of the freezer and pantry, for two reasons to use up what we have to make room for the big re-stock shopping in Jan/Feb and to allow the extra food budget funds to be spent on Christmas.

So in order to do this I had to inventory the freezer and pantry to see what we have in the way of food and how was I going to turn what is there into meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I did get the freezer done and made a list of meals, tomorrow I am going through the upstairs pantry as I try to find fun ways to use up all the odds and ends hiding in there. I did do one small for me shopping trip already and it should be all that is needed for food for December except for milk, bread, eggs, a turkey ( Don's request for Christmas dinner )and some Christmas treats.

So the goal this month is to only spend 300 dollars on food and have 200 that I can use for Christmas.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Season has begun

Christmas in a large family, is fun, loud, and can be done within the limits of a budget.  One of the things that we did was to start traditions that the children look forward to, so that it is not all about will we get as gifts.
We start off our season by the attending our town’s winter parade, then we find time to head out for a tree. We get our tree from a local place that is great experience, you head out to chop down your tree and then your picture is taken and have hot coco and cookies before heading home. We fill the month with Christmas plays, caroling , baking cookies, and making crafts.
On Christmas Eve after church service we come home and have ice cream sundeas with all the different toppings and each child opens a pair of new pj’s, and we have a new family movie to watch that night. Then on Christmas since we are home all day we have a PJ day, yes we eat our Christmas Dinner in our PJ’s something that the kids think is funny.  We use the nice dishes, and have a wonderful dinner while wearing our pj’s. I do ask that they at least brush their teeth and hair.
And what about presents, we have a plan that we try to follow.  When the children were younger and we as parents had yet to learn some important lessons we went overboard. Our budget suffered, my housekeeping suffered (If each kid had 10 gifts that was 50 new things to care for), and the children had a bad case of the gimmies.  Our plan after learning these lessons  is one gift from daddy ( which is the big gift) sometimes it is a toy, usually something useful . In the past it has been cd-players, new bedding, something that we have noticed that the children need, that costs more than the 15 dollar birthday limit.
Then there is the gift from mommy usually something I have made them, or sometimes a fun toy that I am willing to live with. And then there is there box of books, we have a penguin book warehouse sale that I get books for pennies on the dollar each November. The kids also have a stocking that has small gifts that I have bought though out the year.
This plan keeps me from over buying, the house from overflowing, and the children enjoy the season.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


This is a new blog for me but not the first one I have had two others one on homeschoolblogger but when we sent the children to school I didn't feel that I should continue blogging there, I also have a blog on xanga but felt that it was time for a new platform and the first joint blog with my husband. So that brings us to blogger, and our new blog named What's One More.

That is how we ended up with our 6 children Pat-19 in college, Sarah -17 in high school, Conner 14, and Nolan 12 in middle school and Kathryn 10, and Aidan -4 in elementary. The youngest would get older and I would ask Don " What's one More ?", his answer wasn't always the one I wanted to hear but most of the time we added just one more.

That has also applied to pets we are the owners of 2 dogs, 2 cats, 3 hermit crabs, 8 fish ( I think they wouldn't stay still to be counted), all who have joined our family by one or more children asking what is one more ( insert dog, cat, fish, other small animal). We have also had many other small animals over the years that are no longer with us, we have sadly gotten quite good at pet burials.

The idea of What's One More also applies to friends, there has been many a time when a extra plate has been added to dinner, another sleeping bag added to a bedroom floor, or another friend picked up for church.

This blog is going to be about our daily life here, how do we manage it all, feed them all, stay on the budget ( as much as I dislike What's One More applies more to bills then income ), and not go crazy. Both my husband and I will be writing entries, so please stop by and visit us here on the web.

If you would like to know a bit more about us, check out our xanga blog as I work on adding more here to blogger over the weekend. www.xanga.com/midge8