Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu Plan for Monday Sept. 29th, 2008

Breakfasts: Cold Cereal, scrambled eggs, Zucchini Bread, Waffles
Lunches: Leftovers

Snacks: fruit, granola bars

I think this is comfort food week. I have been craving casseroles and lots of creamy cheesy things. I guess with all this comfort food I need to incorporate more exercise into my day lest I end up with another layer come spring:)!


Monday: Crockpot Pork Roast w/Pasta Salad and Broccoli

Tuesday: Chili and Cornbread

Wednesday: Shepherd's Pie

Thursday: Bean and Cheese Burritos and mixed veggies on the side

Friday: We usually have Whole Wheat Cheese Pizza! our every friday night tradition but we will make our pizza into calzones (BBQ chicken, cheese and bean) so we can take them on the road while we drive to Missions Fest.

Saturday: We'll be flying to Indiana today! Breakfast: Zucchini Bread, Lunch: Leftover Calzones, Dinner: Veggie Burgers and carrot sticks. We'll pack cheese & Kashi Crackers, trail mix, fruit and protein bars for snacks.

Sunday: We'll be in Indy until Wednesday (daniel will come home today though) so I will just be the cook's assistant for awhile!:)

Visit Laura at Orgjunkie for more menu plan inspiration!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Weekend at the Cabin Part 2: Birthday Warm-Up!

M is almost 1 year old! We did a warm-up bday with the Gregory's since we will be with our Indy fam on M's real bday. Let's blow out the candles!

Happy Birthday to me! (wave arm for emphasis!)
Close up of the cake de deliciousoness
Going on a Bear Hunt...gonna catch a bear
Rip that paper off!
Teeth are a quicker way
Playing Games, eating the game pieces
Another path to the cabin

Staying at a Hotel without breaking the bank.

Last winter we flew across the country (well, from Washington state to Texas) with a 2 month old for 10 days and did it for relatively little money. The purpose of the trip was not to vacation, but rather to get some additional schooling for my husband. Thus, our time there did not include much site-seeing and the like. But, since we needed to take this trip and did not have much additional budget money to do it, we economized on things we could. Here are some ways we saved during that trip that you might take into consideration if you need to stay in a hotel for awhile on the cheap.

1)Free Breakfast. Find a hotel with breakfast if at all possible. If you can, make sure its a hot breakfast. This helped our costs so much...we filled up on breakfast so our lunches were lighter.

2)Free shuttle service. My husband needed to get to his aviation school every day and this hotel had free shuttle. We were also able to utilize the shuttle for a couple trips to Wal-Mart for groceries and the like during the week.

3)Laundry. We were able to bring our cloth diapers with us and primarily use those because of free laundry in the hotel. If you can't find a hotel with free laundry, take that into careful consideration when deciding what clothes to pack. Pack clothes that hide spots well and can be worn more than once. For us that would've meant bringing more disposable diapers, boughten on deep discount hopefully!

4) Mini Fridge/Microwave. These were essential to our trip. I brought along a few carefully selected kitchen tools such as a knife, can opener, a microwavable dinner sized bowl/casserole and disposable dinner ware/plates etc. We had a very simple menu, but I was able to stay within our at-home regular food budget because of doing this. You may even consider bringing some food packed if you don't have to pay extra for baggage.

Some of our meals included:
~ Baked potatoes (cooked in the micro) with broccoli, cheese and beans
~ Microwavable Rice packets with kielbasa and salad
~ Casserole made with potatoes, kielbasa, eggs, cheese and broccoli
~ Tomato Soup and "grilled" cheese sandwiches

5)Utilize walking-distance entertainment. Baby and I got free exercise and entertainment by walking to a nearby mall. I also was able to find out what fast food was at the mall food court, and in turn we went back and printed off coupons so we could enjoy a night out couple times while there. I even got to sample Chick fil A for the first time!

6) Use the hotel amenities to the fullest (and make friends with the staff:). Since we were practically living at the hotel for almost two weeks, we made sure to tip the housekeeping staff and chat with the lobby staff. They helped us to get on the internet, got us extra towels when we needed them, etc.

These ideas probably won't work for everyone, especially if you are on a more "vacation" type trip. Living this way allowed the baby and I to be able to afford the plane ticket to go with Daniel since if he were alone he would have most likely needed to eat out a bunch. It was worth it to both of us!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Safeway NW Deals for the Week of Sept 24th, 2008

Just a quick rundown of the coupon matchups that I thought were notable this week:

Fresh Express Shreds or Angel Hair Coleslaw 8 to 10-oz. package $1.00
Use $0.75/1 coupon from 09-21 S
Final Price $0.25 !!

Campbells Chunky Soup $1.50
Use $0.50/4 coupon from 09-07 S2
Final Price $1.33

Campbells Select Harvest Soup $1.50
Use coupon for $0.50/2 from 08-17 S
Final Price $1.25

General Mills Cereal: Cheerios 8.9-oz $1.88
Use coupon for $0.75/1 from 08-17 S
Final Price $1.13

Bumble Bee Solid White Tuna 5-6 oz $1.00
Use coupon for $0.55/1 from 09-14 S
Final Price $0.45

Newmans Own Pasta Sauce 13.5-24 oz $2.50
Use coupon for $1.00/3 from 08-24 RP
Final Price $2.17

Pringles $1.00
Use $0.30/3 coupon from 08-31 PG
Final Price $0.90

Okay, here's the fun part this week: Here is my trip from this past weekend to Safeway: Total $11.xx! I found some marked down Pillsbury Crescents that were part of the $5/5 promo, so I ended up making almost $4 for the rest of my groceries from those rolls! I wish I had the coupons (internet printables) on hand for these, which would've made the deal so much sweeter!

Safeway Deals will be up later...

Our baby girl had surgery this morning to unclog her tear ducts. It went fine, she is just super tired (she is napping now) and was pretty confused afterward! We are both worn out from getting up and to surgery by 6am this morning, so I will do Safeway deals research a little later today:) In the meantime, check out Coldstone Creamery for free icecream today (5-8pm)!

My snacking has gotten stranger and stranger this week...yesterday I had pigs in a blanket for a morning snack and today I had a half a boca burger with all the fixins'. In other family news, we leave for Indiana in a little over a week! We are so excited!

M took over 10 steps in a row yesterday! Her other new tricks include sliding down the stairs backwards at lightening speed and copying some baby signs when she looks are the bedtime baby signs book. Such a fun age! Below are pictures of my little chef:)

This is so tasty!

All done cookin' mom!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sourdough Pancakes with Fruity Topping

Today's breakfast was great on two levels: 1) most of the prep was done in 5 minutes the night before, and 2) it was delicious and healthy! I got this recipe from Kimi at the Nourishing Gourmet

These pictures do not do these pancakes justice. They are light but filling and are topped with fresh peaches and a little sugar. So good! Daniel and M gave them two thumbs up as well:)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Last Week's Steals (Walgreen's and Target)

After rebates, register rewards and coupons, the above cost less than $5!

These past two weeks have been exciting for numerous reasons, shopping being the lesser, but still great part of all that. I had a successful trip to Walgreen's to take advantage of some of their great deals and then stopped by Target armed with some Kashi printable coupons and took away all this for $0 after gift card!

Whole Wheat Sourdough Biscuits and Tomato Soup

After finally trying a sourdough starter, my first loaf of sourdough bread tasted weird. We ate it, but it wasn't our favorite. I tried it again though, this time soaking some batter for muffins and the results was much better! The taste was mildly sourdough-y, but very smooth.

The night before last, I decided to make biscuits the next day with the starter. I used this recipe, thanks to a link from Sarah, and they were really good! I made them on our pizza stone and they spread out a lot.

Does anyone have any thoughts as to when to add the butter in a recipe that needs to be soaked? Cutting in the butter after the dough was already soaked didn't work so I am wondering if I should've melted it or added it before soaking.

We served these with homemade creamy tomato basil soup, made with tomatoes from my mom's garden! So good. I wish I had a picture, but we ate it up too quickly:)

Here is the recipe I loosely used:

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
4-5 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cups broth
(bring these to a boil in a large pan, then simmer for about 10 minutes) Then puree in a blender/food processor.
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. sugar
Stir until combined
Add 1/3 cup real butter and stir until melted.

Serve and enjoy!

Here is my little biscuit and tomato eater:)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu Plan for Sept 22nd, 2008

Breakfasts: Sourdough blackberry muffins, scrambled eggs, pancakes

Lunches: Leftovers

Snacks: fruit, granola bars, yogurt, cottage cheese, tomatoes


Monday: Homemade Tomato Soup and Sourdough biscuits

Tuesday: Stuffed Green Peppers (stuffed with rice, sausage, onions, veggies and topped with cheese)

Wednesday: Broccoli Cheese Bake

Thursday: Italian Pasta Bake (using fresh tomatoes-yum!) with green beans

Friday: We usually have Whole Wheat Cheese Pizza! our every friday night tradition!

Saturday: Zucchini tomato frittata and Bread

Sunday: Lentil/Barley Soup and Egg Salad Sandwiches with salad

Visit Laura at Orgjunkie for more menu plan inspiration!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Our Weekend at the Cabin: Part 1

Some wonderful church friends let us use their cabin this weekend while my parents were in town. It was far more "rustic" than our typical "camping" and that's exactly what we were excited about. We cooked on a grill and woodstove, used lots of candlelight, and spent the whole time pretty much technology-free. We all agreed that the time spent at the cabin was both fun and relaxing.

My dad and I decided to get some exercise and work off all the good food we ate for lunch (salmon, veggie/potato packets, and cheese garlic biscuits) by going on a walk. Admittedly, neither of us is great with directions. We had an excellent plan though--we would only take lefts, and eventually we'd make a circle around the tiny lake we were staying on. Good plan in theory, but well...2 1/2 hours of brisk walking later (and close to 8 miles) we finally drug ourselves back to the cabin. Did we ever get good exercise!:)

cooking like a pioneer woman
the lake the cabin sits on
dad, ready to brave the wild open waters:)
dad and daniel, trying to canoe
they finally got out and decided on a bigger boat

This dock is right out our front door.

M impressed her grandparents with her standing up skillz.
M checking out the wood box
Just hangin' out with dad, wearing her early bday sweater.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

First Friends

M is showing herself to be quite the people-person:) She loves church nursery and will play for 3 hours straight every Sunday morning.

We go to the first service in our church and one other little girl who is just a little over a year old (M is 11 1/2 months) almost always is there too. It is so cute to see them play together!

Here are some pictures of our munchkin's new friends, who happen to be the kiddos of my new friend from church. They came over this week and had a blast. M fell asleep almost instantly after they left.
Playing on a ramp/music toy we borrowed from another church friend. Aren't church friends great!?
A is 15 months old and is so cute! M always gets more motivated to take steps when she's around:)
Playing together... our munchkin got so excited at times she would just pat L or A over and over or through herself on them for a hug. They were great about tolerating her "love":)

Fall Harvest

This is my first contribution to Thankful Thursday.

Can I just say that I love having a church family!? 4 years ago when Daniel and I moved here (seperately, but to the same apartment complex...we were only engaged), we knew 1 person, my roommate. I moved out the first of September (2004) to start my job, actually a paid interneship, with the school disttrict. 3 weeks later, Daniel moved out here and started looking for a church for us.

We are so thankful that after a most discouraging church-search, God led us to our current church. We have been blessed in abundance by this church, with friendship, support as a newly married couple, encouragement in our desire to do overseas missions, as well as with material blessings as well.

Recently several families in the church have shared their vegetable harvest with us. It has been wonderful to be able to eat fresh produce to our hearts content, not being concerned that we are using the next meal's produce up. What a blessing!

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ..." Ephesians 1:3

"Listen carefully to Me and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance" Isaiah 55:2b

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This is what I do for fun these days

That's right, take pictures of myself cleaning our shower. Don't get too jealous of my awesomeness. I joined Buzz Agent awhile ago and they sent me one of these nifty things. I thought it worked pretty well, but wouldn't pay full price for one. I "bought" more with coupons and so far our tub is staying pretty shiny.

Ummm...don't even know what I am posting pictures of this, but well, I took them so I thought I should do something with them.

Are you having as much fun as me these days:)?