I don’t know about you all, but I have had a very busy two weeks. The main reason? I have decided to paint my kitchen. It was green, probably what you would call a light forest green, and I needed a change. The green had to go! I liked it when we first moved in nine years ago but probably for the past couple years or so I was just kind of over it. I had been putting it off because…painting. Ugh! Continue reading “Easy Egg Casserole”
Last month, I catered and directed a dinner theater. Yes really! It was complete with fancy decorations, red carpet ropes, and lots and lots of glitter! I will have more on that later, but it was SO. MUCH. FUN!! The pics and details will be coming soon, at least that’s my plan anyway. It was the biggest project I have ever done. Lots of good food, good acting, and wonderful guests! Continue reading “Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (low carb!)”
So it’s 9:45 p.m. I am sitting here in my yoga pants and a t-shirt, thinking that maybe I should work out. But then again, my bathrobe, my Boba Fett slippers, a glass of wine, and an old movie are calling my name. The kids will be going to bed soon and David is working late. And it will be just me. Really I should exercise. Really, really. But man, I just don’t wanna. While I work up some much-needed motivation, I figured I would talk about some of the exercises I do most often, those that I dislike the least anyway. 🙂 Continue reading “In Which the Author Discusses the Egregious Nature of Exercise and the Delights of Wine”
Ah, bread. There’s nothing quite like the smell of homemade bread wafting through your house. I used to be very intimidated with the idea of making my own bread. I was sure I was going to mess it up somehow, and admittedly I have had some bread-making blunders over the years, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really not a big deal. And even seasoned cooks have had blunders, so put your worries aside and know that you’re not alone! Continue reading “Artisan Bread”
Exercise is hard, you know? So I thought for a little fun, I’d post my take on some of the exercise “myths” of our day. Because I know that so many people are being misled, I feel it is my civic duty to set you all straight. You’re welcome. 😉 With it being the start of the new year and all, a lot of people are beginning to exercise more, getting gym memberships and the like. Let me tell you, people are just being misled!*
When David and I were first married, I had very little experience with cooking. I mean very, very little. When I still lived at home with my parents, I cooked some but definitely not very much. After we were married, my go-to recipe was spaghetti because it was easy and we both liked it. Tired and needed an easy meal? Spaghetti. Company coming over? Spaghetti. A romantic meal for two? Yeah. Spaghetti again. 🙂 I did expand my menu repertoire over the years (thankfully!) and as you might imagine, we really don’t eat spaghetti that often anymore. David has been a very willing guinea pig too, which I really appreciate. I have had a few flops but most things have actually turned out well!
If you need some help in planning meals for your family either due to lack of experience or feel like you just don’t have time, here are some things that have helped me quite a bit over the years.
1. Don’t make it difficult.
Your meals don’t have to be fancy and elaborate to be good and healthy. There is a time and a place for that but if you are tired after a long day of work or homeschooling or you’re just starting out in your cooking adventures, go with an easy recipe. Even now, nearly 17 years after our wedding day, a lot of my recipes don’t have much more than five ingredients or so. And you know what? I have gotten more compliments on those recipes than on more elaborate ones!
(Psst. Here’s an easy recipe for you:)
2. Use your Crock Pot
Several years ago when I first started working from home, my older two kids were pretty young and I was working from 2p.m. until about 8 p.m. every weeknight. I used my Crock Pot ALL the time! It was a lifesaver for me. Now, you do have to do some planning, but dinner cooks all day long and when the busyness of the evening comes around, it’s ready! Some meals are so easy that you don’t even have to defrost the meat. I will be posting some of those recipes soon.
3. Enlist some help!
My older two children (who are now 14 and 15) are a huge help to me in the kitchen. This obviously didn’t happen overnight and took some training, but it definitely pays off. They were able to do some pretty basic things even when they were younger, and I got to spend some quality time with them too. Now that they’re older, they can take over a lot of the meal preparation, and this has saved my sanity on more than one occasion.
4. Find a few meals you and your family like and stick with them.
I have a friend who kind of just rotates through about five or six meals that she makes for her family. She doesn’t have a whole lot of experience and cooking isn’t really her thing, so this works really well for her. It’s easy and economical. Her kids don’t complain and they love those meals. I have seen them chow down! This sounds like a great option. Maybe after awhile your family will get tired of those same meals, so then you can change it up and come up with another five or six meals that they really like. I think planning meals this way is an excellent, easy, and frugal idea. And I’m all about being frugal!
I hope that these tips have been helpful. If anyone has other suggestions, I would love to hear them! If you have some inexpensive and easy recipes to share, please do so! The more, the better! 🙂
There is a time and a place for luxurious, fancy meals. Those can be really fun. Most days, however, I just need easy. Easy and good. This recipe serves both purposes. You just need to remember to pull your chicken out of the freezer ahead of time. Ahem. 🙂
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. I don’t often measure anything in my recipes so the following is kind of an estimate. You can vary it depending on the amount of people you are serving.
Easy Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
1 lb. of carrots, cut up (Use baby carrots to make it super easy, and you don’t even have to cut them up!)
3 lbs. (or so) of potatoes, cubed
3-5 lbs. of raw chicken breasts, cut up (or you can use thighs)
1-2 packets of ranch dressing mix OR 2-4 tablespoons of homemade ranch dressing mix
1 stick of butter, cut up
Toss everything together and put it in your Crock Pot on low for 6-8 hours.
There are some things that taste like summer to me. Watermelon, lemonade, hamburgers on the grill. And pico de gallo! We love to make this recipe in the summer. It’s easy, healthy, and uses up the abundance of garden tomatoes you hopefully have!
It is getting to be tomato season. Are you swimming in tomatoes yet? My plants aren’t doing as well as last year, but I hope to at least get enough to make a batch or two of our favorite salsa: pico de gallo, also known as fresh tomato salsa. Now, I will warn you that with so many of my recipes, I rarely measure anything. This recipe is no exception. So much of it is a matter of personal preference. Maybe you don’t like cilantro at all so you can leave that out. Maybe you prefer a milder batch? Go ahead and leave out the jalapeno. It’s kind of trial and error really. Here is the recipe.
Pico de Gallo
Fresh tomatoes, maybe 3 or 4
1/2 to 1 red onion (I’ve used yellow and white before too.)
1/2 to 1 jalapeno, seeded (or omit this altogether)
a bunch of cilantro (This is where your personal preference will come in. Start with a smaller amount and add more if you think it needs it.)
2 teaspoons more or less of fresh minced garlic (I have also used garlic powder to taste.)
salt to taste
Now just chop everything up and mix it together. Add more seasoning if needed. Enjoy with tortilla chips!
Time to sit down and give a recap of my goals from last week. I had a fairly productive week, though didn’t get everything done, particularly in our home repair category. So I’ll just tack that on to this week’s list. I really would like to at least get some of that stuff done!
Weed, baby, weed (the vegetable garden specifically).
Harvest some kale. (I didn’t get that done but harvested some tomatoes, squash, and jalapenos!)
Water consistently. (The Lord took care of that one for me! We had some rain this past week so I didn’t need to water.)
Weed back flower bed. (Isaiah did this one.)
Weed front flower bed. (He did this one too! 🙂 )
Home Improvement Projects: Well, sadly, I didn’t accomplish anything in this category. Time to move the list to this week’s goals!
Buy peel and stick vinyl for this project. I am so excited to try this! It might actually be something I can do.
Scrape the porch of old stain
Prep the porch to apply new stain
Hopefully apply the stain and be done with this project!
Devotions before noon each day
Set aside some time to read. (Didn’t get that one done. Does Pinterest count? 😉 )
Work out every day. (I did this everyday but Thursday.)
Write out my to-do list for the next day the night before. (It really seems to work best for me to do this in the morning so that’s what I will stick with.)
Prep dinner in the morning using the crockpot or plan an easy meal.
Bake some bread to freeze (I baked some bread, just didn’t freeze it!)
Follow the Motivated Moms chore planner at least 80% of the time.
Have the house straightened up before David gets home from work.
Declutter! (I am always on a mission to declutter, though that’s not always a good thing; just ask David!)
With the older kids, help them with math.
Keep all kids on task with their chores.
Make sure the older kids memorize their catechism.
For the younger kids, help Sam with his reading lesson. (We are slowly making our way through his reading lesson book.)
Help them memorize catechism questions.
And now goals for this week!
Weed veggie garden (this will be ongoing).
Harvest veggies (including kale!).
Home Improvement Projects
See last week’s list. It is exactly the same!
Continue having devotions before noon each day.
Set aside some time to read everyday.
Work out everyday.
Write my to-do list every morning.
Prep dinner in the morning or around lunch time (or at least have a plan in place to make dinnertime run smoothly).
Follow the Motivated Moms chore planner 80% of the time.
Continue my decluttering mission!
Have the house straightened up before David gets home everyday.
Help the older kids with math.
Go over catechism questions with younger kids.
Help older kids stay on task with memorizing catechism questions.
Continue reading lessons with Sam.
I hope everyone has a productive week!
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I love this time of year! There is so much fresh produce available. The garden is doing well for the most part. I have a TON of kale and basil. Plus my zucchini and summer squash plants are doing great. My tomato plants aren’t looking so hot though. They do have some tomatoes on them, but not as many as I think they should. The plants themselves aren’t getting very big and the leaves are turning yellow toward the bottom. I’m not sure what’s going on there. Hopefully I will get enough to make pico de gallo. We made a ton of that last year. It was so good!
My bell pepper and jalapeno pepper plants are producing nicely too. However, I have so much stuff crammed in my garden that some of these plants aren’t getting enough sun. I think when my squash plants are done producing, they will get more sun and produce better. Lesson learned!
In the spring when everything was still small or hadn’t grown at all yet, I saw all the empty space and wanted to fill it up with as many veggies as I could. Now it is like a jungle out there! My space between rows especially by the squash plants is pretty much nonexistent. It’s exciting to see how much stuff I can grow though. And my garden plot isn’t huge by any stretch of the imagination.
Some dear friends recently gave me a book called The Backyard Homestead. The author shows you how to grow so much food, even if you don’t live on much space! It gives you the basics on how to grow pretty much anything, even information for raising chickens (something I would love to do one day!) and other livestock. I have been slowly making my way through the book. It has lots of information in there.
If you have a garden, how is it growing this year? Any issues with bugs, weather, or bad soil? I have often remarked that I am so thankful we don’t have to rely solely on our gardens for food. I think we’d go hungry! 🙂