Menu Plan Monday Week of March 9-15

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Yea! 2nd menu plan in a row! First a recap of last week:

Sunday: Loaded Baked Potato Soup (delicious like always! Recipe post coming this week!)

Monday:Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Rice, Steamed Broccoli (My brother got a hold of me right before I started cooking to see if he and a friend could bring over pizza…um…of course! lol)

Tuesday: Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Bacon (Yumm!!)

Wednesday: (Ash Wednesday) Corn Chowder, Biscuits (This was a new to us recipe. We really liked it. I made it without bacon since Ash Wednesday is a day of abstaining from meat. I think bacon would make it even better!)

Thursday: Chicken Alfredo with Veggies, Garlic Bread (This was super easy using a frozen blend of pasta and veggies from GFS and a jarred alfredo sauce.)

Friday: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (fish fillets for the kids), French Fries (The tilapia was frozen from Walmart. It was sooo good! I will definitely buy that again!)

Saturday: We didn’t have the kids so we went to Applebee’s.

OK…on to this week!!

Sunday: Scout’s Blue and Gold Banquet (NO COOKING!! YEA!!)

Monday: Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Rice, Broccoli (take 2!)

Tuesday: Golden Mushroom Porkchops (crockpot), Baked Potatoes, Green Beans

Wednesday: Chicken Queso Bake (I’m inventing this recipe myself..I’ll share it if we like it!)

Thursday: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Salad, Garlic Bread

Friday: Kenya (I had this down for last week but realize that Operation Rice Bowl starts the first FULL week of Lent which is this week! Take 2! lol)

Saturday: Steven is in charge while I am at a 12 hour crop at church running my Mary Kay booth! Yippy!!

So that’s what we are eating (or planning anyway!) this week. What’s on your menu? Check out lots more menus over at OrgJunkie! Happy eating!

Lent

I remember when I converted to Catholicism Lent was a foreign concept to me. Don’t get me wrong I knew about it, even thought I knew what it was all about. I grew up in a predominantly Catholic area so I grew up to expectt that a few weeks leading up to Easter we’d have fish for lunch. My friends talked about “giving up” snacks or dessert or soda. We didn’t practice Lent though. It’s just not something that is done in the Mormon church so my first Lent was a very interesting experience. I was in RCIA and serious preparation for entrance in to the church was beginning. I don’t remember what I gave up but with a young baby and a toddler I’m pretty sure it was just a chaotic time and I probably didn’t do much. Since then Lent has been a hit or miss for me as far as prayer, fasting and almsgiving. I do really good some years and others I’m just in survival mode. A few years ago someone pointed out to me that Lent isn’t just about giving things up. They described how they chose to add something in that they don’t usually do in order to grow spiritually. I LOVED that idea. That year I started adding in a Rosary on Friday afternoons. It was probably my favorite Lent ever. One Lent I decided to give up listening to secular music and listened to nothing but Christian or Classical music. Again, a total winner. This year I’ve decided to add something and give up something.

I’ll be using this devotional that I found for free on Amazon to do a devotional through the names of Christ. I think this will be very interesting and will help me get back into a routine of spending some daily time with the Lord. I’m really hit or miss in this area of my life right now and I’d like to become more consistent. As part of my devotional time I plan on praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, one of my absolute favorite meditations.

In January we participated in the K-Love 30 Day challenge and listened to nothing but Christian music for 30 days. I love how different my days feel when I do that. After the 30 days was over though the radio station got switched. Don’t get me wrong…I love pop music, country music, even a little rap now and then but I don’t feel the same when I listen to that music as I do when I listen to music that focuses on praising and uplifting. So for Lent I’m going back to only Christian music, with a little Classical and maybe some Jazz thrown in for good measure :-)

I am also giving up wearing pants on Ash Wednesday, the Fridays of Lent and the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday). I already am skirts and dresses only for Sundays so that would include Easter Sunday. Why am I doing this? I’m not really sure! I’ve always been fascinated with women who are dresses/skirts only. I felt convicted last year to go back to wearing only skirts and dresses to church again after years of wearing pants. When I was thinking about what I was going to give up this year this idea popped in to my head right away. I don’t know what might come out of it but I feel it was the Holy Spirit working in me so I’m just gonna go with it and see where it goes!  And just for some accountability I’ll be sharing my outfits here with you! So here’s todays’ outfit.

Glittery pink top: Walmart ($7!!)

Glittery pink top: Walmart ($7!!)

Black jersey knit skirt- Motherhood Maternity Black Footless tights: George at Walmart Fuschia flats: American Eagle for Payless ($10 on a BOGO!!!)

Black jersey knit skirt- Motherhood Maternity
Black Footless tights: George at Walmart
Fuschia flats: American Eagle for Payless ($10 on a BOGO!!!)

Close up of the flats. I love these shoes!!

Close up of the flats. I love these shoes!!

As a family we will be participating in Operation Rice Bowl by Catholic Relief Services as part of PSR service project. But I’ll post more about that on Friday. I hope you have a wonderful Ash Wednesday and a very blessed Lenten season.

Menu Plan Monday- The First Week of Lent 2014

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In my last post I mentioned that one of the things I wanted to get back to was Menu Plan Monday posts. I did menu planning consistently for quite a while and loved how much easier it made my life. I completely fell off the menu planning bandwagon and I have to say I’ve missed it. Having a plan means we eat better, I am less stressed and we eat earlier, before the kids have a chance to start their “I’m-starving-feed-me-Seymore” fits! One of my favorite resources for menu planning is I’m An Organizing Junkie. Laura has a great resource over there for all things organizing (an area I regularly struggle at in my life.) She has been the host of Menu Plan Monday for years and it regularly gets 100s of link ups each week. Not sure what to make for dinner? Surely you can get some inspiration there.

Saturday mom and I decided to do a big shop. We try to do this every couple of months and really get the freezer and pantry stocked up. Having a stocked freezer and pantry definitely makes menu planning easier for me. Some prefer to sit down with the weekly sales fliers and plan their menu based on what’s on sale. I think either way is fine. I’ve done it both ways. I prefer planning out of my stocked personal “store” but that’s just me! On our big shopping trip this month we hit up GFS, one of my favorite places. We stocked up on 20 pounds of fresh chicken breasts, 20 pounds of ground beef, a pork loin that mom cut into 3 pork roasts, 6 pounds of bacon (3 for the freezer, 3 pre-cooked), lots of frozen veggies and lots of cooking and baking ingredients (oil, sugars, soup bases, etc.) We also hit up Walmart to stock up on items that we don’t need in bulk (smaller can of veggies that don’t feed 30 people!!), fresh fruits and veggies and milk, etc. I sat down this morning and came up with a plan for the week taking into account that this week begins Lent so we have 2 days of abstaining from meat.

So, without further ado, here is our meal plan for this week.

Sunday: Baked Potato Soup (Stevens’ aunts’ recipe and our favorite! I’ll try to do a post on this soup because it is awesome!), Biscuits

Monday: Sweet & Sour Meatballs, Rice, Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday: Fat/Pancake Tuesday!! Chocolate chip pancakes, Bacon, Fresh Fruit

Wednesday: Ash Wednesday Corn Chowder (NO bacon-a new to us recipes. I’ll let you know how we like it.), Rolls

Thursday: Chicken Alfredo with Veggies

Friday: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia, Baked Potatoes, Steamed Mixed Veggies

Saturday: KENYA!! (The first country in Our Around The World Table Travel series-more information to come!)

So that’s what we are eating this week. How about you? Anything on our menu that looks good to you? What are you making this week?

What I Didn’t Wear Sunday

I was fully planning on a What I Wore Sunday post today. I was gonna look all cute in my favorite grey sweater dress, herringbone tights and black boots from Kohl’s. I bought this outfit for my great-grandmother’s funeral after Thanksgiving and it’s become one of my favorites this winter. There’s just something so cozy about a sweater dress!

grey sweater dress

Instead we woke up this morning to wet roads and a forecast of icy conditions moving in to the area. After speaking to a couple of people who live closer to our church Steven decided to cancel PSR and quickly went to fetch our boys who had spent the night with the grandparents. Within a few hours this was the view outside our window:

icy tree

icy tree 2

I LOVE how pretty trees look when they are iced over, but that’s about where my love affair ends! This mama don’t play with ice. So instead of putting on my cute sweater dress it’s now 11:56 and I’m rocking this:

pj selfie

Oh well! What are you gonna do? If we had thought better we would have gone to Mass last night but we didn’t so….here’s to next week! Since this isn’t actually a church post I won’t be linking up to FLAP but here’s to getting back in to the swing of things!

Back in the Saddle Again

Thanks to an upgrade to a great new laptop we are back in action around here folks! Our desktop computer and our other laptop are so slow that it literally was taking me hours to get a blog post written, especially if there were pictures involved. I also have started a Mary Kay business which will require lots of online ordering, training, etc and I needed something fast. Spending an hour waiting for one document to download is ridiculous! And after the kids were out of school more than they were in school in January due to this crazy winter weather I grew frustrated that I couldn’t get them on any computer programs to work on math, reading, etc on any of the electronic devices in our house except the slow computers that they couldn’t do anything on. So thanks to a President’s Day sale at the Microsoft Store we obtained an HP Envy and I am loving it!! It is so nice to have a fast, reliable computer again. And this one has a touch screen which, let’s face it, just makes it cooler! lol

That means I am looking forward to getting the blog back up and running again. I’m missing sharing the ins and outs of our daily life with you. I’m missing the fun features I was participating in like What I Wore Sunday. I’m looking forward to getting back to Menu Plan Monday (cause I need the motivation soooo bad!!) And I’m excited to bring a new feature in March as we begin a family culinary adventure around the world, one country, one meal at a time (more to come on that later!). So I just wanted to let you know we are still alive and well here in the frozen Ohio Valley (which thankfully is thawing out, just to freeze again next week! Grrrr!!) Hoping you all are doing good as well. See you soon!!

Disappearing Act

Yeah, I’m good at disappearing! I always come back but when life gets crazy the blog is the first thing I let go. So what have we been up to? Well Brianna turned 9. I can’t believe it but it’s true! She had a great day on her birthday with her family, as well as a really fun karaoke party the weekend after with her friends.

brianna birthday 1

Her hair is a mess but she looked super cute in the new outfit from her grandma. I wish I had gotten a better picture of it!

brianna birthday party

Daddy working hard to help get ready for the party.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving my brother Michael, his boyfriend Scott, mom, Brianna, our friend Manda Lynn and I went to volunteer at the Freestore Foodbank downtown. It was an amazing experience. It was cold, oh my it was cold! But we were working so hard and it felt so good to be providing service to those in need in our community. I think our warm hearts helped keep our bodies warm too!

Those bright green vest are sexy! lol

Those bright green vest are sexy! lol

I was so proud of Brianna! She was a hard worker and didn’t complain all day! We worked for about 4 1/2 hours and she was a trooper! After we were finished she asked when we’d be going back. Success!! They were very impressed with her in the food room where she helped to pack bags with canned and boxed food.  I was very proud of our girl!

brianna foodbankOur Thanksgiving was great! We had a very full house. My brother Christopher and his partner Josh came in from DC. Michael’s boyfriend Scott came in from NYC. Manda Lynn joined us and my dad came over also. We cooked all morning while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love Thanksgiving! I love having a day to purposefully stop and give thanks for the things that we have been blessed with all year long. Sure, we should give thanks all year and I feel like I do. To me it’s also so much about being around those that you love and eating some YUMMY food!!

Our Thanksgiving table. It stretched into the dining room this year!

Our Thanksgiving table. It stretched into the living room this year!

This little guy loves pumpkin pie!!

This little guy loves pumpkin pie!! Also, anyone else think he looks drunk!?!? Drunk on pumpkin pie…hmmm!!

The day after Thanksgiving we got word that my great grandmother, whom we called Beebles, passed away. She was 89 years old. She had been in hospice for several weeks by that point. I kept saying “Watch, she’ll die on Thanksgiving.” Well, close enough! We had her funeral on Sunday which I had the privilege of singing at, accompanied by my dad (this was his grandmother). She was a truly remarkable woman. And she will be truly missed by her family.

Beautiful lady!

Beautiful lady!

Our last visit was a few years ago, the day after Christmas. She developed some pretty bad dementia. It's hard on people with dementia to be surrounded by people they can't recognize. And it's hard on young children to understand why grandma or grandpa can't remember who they are. Plus, it's just hard to go on visits with 4 young kids who have lots of energy!!

Our last visit was a few years ago, the day after Christmas. She developed some pretty bad dementia. It’s hard on people with dementia to be surrounded by people they can’t recognize. And it’s hard on young children to understand why grandma or grandpa can’t remember who they are. Plus, it’s just hard to go on visits with 4 young kids who have lots of energy!!

I will always cherish this visit. I wish I had gone more often but life too often got in the way.

I will always cherish this visit. I wish I had gone more often but life too often got in the way.

Friday and Saturday we started decorating the house for Christmas. This year we made the decision to put the Polar Express train on the dining room table and surround it with Steven’s village that he’s been collecting over the years. It looks sooo cool! And Micah, of course, was so glad to see the Polar Express come back. He LOVES this train! Eli loves it too! The morning after we had put it up I brought him downstairs. As we were coming down he caught sight of the train and started saying “Woo! Woo!” It was too cute! Especially since he’s only recently started saying very much at all!

christmas village

Today is the Feast of Saint Nicholas. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve learned to love this feast day since marrying Steven and becoming Catholic. I always loved opening my stocking on Christmas, it was my favorite thing! I love doing their stockings on December 6th. I feel like it gives them some excitement and fun during Advent. Plus, you get to break up the cost a little, which is always nice! lol- I just need to start planning better! Once again Steven was at Walmart last night picking up stuff (and so was my mom! Their stockings are always overflowing! lol)

st. nick 2013

Yes, I know the 4 year old has no clothes on! He rarely does! But he got some Monster University footie jammies from Saint Nick. They went on pretty quickly…for a while! Then he was naked again! lol

Today we are bracing for a nasty winter storm. The first part came through overnight in the form of sleet and freezing rain. This afternoon we are expecting anywhere from 3-6 inches of snow to fall on top of the ice. Fun! So of course the kids are off school and I’m fighting to keep my sanity! Teachers may love snow days…parents…not so much! lol I hope wherever you are that you are warm and safe today. I’ll check in again soon!

WIWS-I’m Back!!

Yeah so the last 2 weeks I forgot to have Steven take pictures for What I Wore Sunday. But today, today I remembered! So without further ado here’s my WIWS I’m Back edition!

WIWS1

From somewhere exotic I hear Tyra Banks screaming “NO!! That is NOT how we take a photo! Honey child you better WORK (snap! snap!) Now once again with some attitude please!”

Sorry Ms. Tyra! Honey, take another one please!

WIWS2

Jean Jacket- Bitten by Sarah Jessica Parker for Steve And Barry’s
Blouse- Mossimo for Target
Tank (under the shirt cause it’s a little see-through!)- Old Navy
Slacks- Worthington for JC Penny
Tights- Simply Vera by Vera Wang for Kohl’s
Pumps- Predictions for PayLess
Jewelry- Premier Designs

“Much better!”

Thanks Ms. Tyra! (Yes someone watches a little too much America’s Next Top Model! Shhhh…don’t tell!!) :-)

Here’s a closer up look at the pumps because you can’t really see them in the pictures and  I LOVE these shoes! I’ve had them for ages but they are still in the best condition. That’s what I love about a good shoe.

WIWS3

brown suede with brown leather trim and brown leather bow

And a closer look at the blouse. I love this top. It’s one of my favorite’s for fall. I love the print and the little feminine touches like the puffy sleeves and just the overall flowy feel.

WIWS4

Today was just one of those Sundays. We didn’t have Jonah or Micah with us because they spent the night with Steven’s dad. We thought we’d get up early and go to 8:00 Mass before PSR…hahahahahaha!!! Every time we say that we should just throw our heads back and laugh because it NEVER happens! But we had a slow(ish) morning which was nice because I got to enjoy my coffee and even made orange sweet rolls for breakfast. Yum!

My PSR class talked about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit today. We spent a lot of time in the Bible looking up scriptures and just diving in to the Word which was great! The kids made collages by writing the name of each gift on a dove and gluing it on to newsprint paper. They turned out really cute but of course I didn’t take my camera so I don’t have any pictures to share. But next week we are talking about the Fruits of the Spirit and will be doing something similar with fruit die cuts so I’ll try to remember to take a picture of that one!

We attended 11:30 Mass and once again I spent the majority of the time in the vestibule with Eli. He is in the process of cutting 2 teeth and he has just been a nightmare lately! I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. I guess I can’t rate him too harshly since he wasn’t feeling well so I guess a solid C for Mass behavior is still OK. Steven said Brianna did really good during Mass so an A for her today! Yea!!

After Mass we went over to Steven’s dad’s to pick up the boys and have lunch. His stepsisters were in town so we got to spend some time with them which was nice! They are a crazy group of girls and we love ‘em! We always have so much fun together! Of course I spent a lot of time down in the man cave with my father in law watching the Bengals game. What an incredible game!! They still lost but wow! That last quarter was awesome! (Note to Andy Dalton- you’re killin’ me man!!!)

After we left Steven’s dad’s we came home and Steven went to studying more for his series 7 qualification exam and the kids pretty much scattered. A little light cleaning for me (you know, a mom’s work doesn’t even get the Sabbath off!!) but it was an overall quiet afternoon/evening. We had a simple dinner of vegetable beef soup and sweet potato muffins. And then it was clean up toy time, brush teeth, jammies and off to bed. I’m sitting here listening to a perfectly quiet house and I have to say it is lovely!

Well, that was our Sunday! I hope yours was wonderful and that you have a very blessed week!

Check out more WIWS fashion posts over at Fine Linen and PurpleWh.