Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In Which We Have a Pantry Challenge

This time of year I think everyone could use a little extra money, whether it's for presents or charity, or just to head into a new year with some dollars in the bank.

I decided that this 2 weeks (my grocery budget is divided into 2 week increments) would be a pantry challenge.  I'm giving myself a budget of $20 for each week to fill in where needed (i.e. when my kids inevitably run out of milk) and hoping to use up items in my fridge, standing freezer, and pantry.

Tonight I started off by cooking a HUGE bulk package of chicken breasts that I got at Wegmans on great sale a few months ago.  I usually break up such large packs when I get home before freezing, but, if I remember correctly, I was out of plastic storage bags and so I lazily threw this whole mama-jama in the freezer and have been avoiding it ever since because it's TOO big to use unless we have a BBQ! It'll work out great for this week, though, even if we're very chicken-heavy :) All the chicken meals are basically prepared and put away, unless they need a last-minute addition (i.e. matzo balls)

For breakfast we've got oatmeal, cereal, toast, and eggs.  Lunches will be turkey or pbj sandwiches or leftovers, and I'll do mac and cheese or something warm at least once.

Week 1- November 30-December 6
Wednesday: Mexican Chicken Casserole, Spicy Corn with Bacon
Thursday: Slow cooker bbq chicken over baked potatoes, green beans, cole slaw
Friday: Pasta with capers and white wine butter sauce,  cucumber tomato salad
Saturday: Pizza (Riley's birthday party and the CC Practicum)
Sunday: Kung Pao Chicken with Rice, egg rolls
Monday: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sammies (Scouts)
Tuesday: Leftovers

Shopping List: Egg Rolls, cole slaw mix, cucumber, tomato

Week 2- December 7-December 14
Wednesday: Matzo Ball Soup, yeast rolls
Thursday: Vegetarian Chili, cornbread
Friday: Pancakes and Bacon
Saturday: Grammy's House (Cookie Swap)
Sunday: Chicken Salad over greens
Monday: Vegetarian fried rice, fruit salad
Tuesday: Leftovers

Shopping list: Onion, parsley, can of rotel tomatoes, salad mix, frozen mixed veggies

Anyone else trying to cut a few corners on the grocery budget this December?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In Which We Return to the World :)

Austin's been on a "unemployment" week (not really, he quit his job at BAH, which was such an answer to prayers, because he got a job at a new company! The week off to relax was a bonus!) and we took the week off with him.

This was the strangest "vacation week" our family has ever taken.  We stayed home.  We slept (copious amounts) and we watched TV.  A lot of TV.  I hate the television and keep it off all week so 7 days of TV was crazy! There was a bunch of rain, but when there wasn't, we rode our bikes and played with chalk....I read some books to snuggly children but generally speaking we stayed home and were lazy.

It was incredible.

We're such a go-go-go kind of family, so this was a completely unhealthy, but much needed vacation!

On Thursday we had Thanksgiving at my mom's house.  Kevin and his girlfriend went to have dinner with her family, and with our resident "THINGS MUST STAY AS THEY ARE!!!!!!!" member of the family out of the picture, I enjoyed being able to experiment a little with some new dishes and have to say that the new pumpkin pie recipe was a rousing success.  It's from Paula Deen, so it's dreadful for you, but it was yummy! You can check out the recipe from her HERE, and I added a little cinnamon and nutmeg to mine, which was quite nice!

Saturday we went to the local drive-through lights show with my family, which was frustrating to me because I really want to reclaim Christmas from all the (sorry) BS to make it more like our observation of Hannukah, which is distinctly a sacred celebration.  The lights didn't bother me, but the hot mess of a carnival at the end ($3-$5 per ride! win a santa toy! buy buy buy!) was offensive to me.  I love living close to my family, but sometimes it makes it really hard to celebrate holidays the way I feel is right for our family.  My mom is a Christmas fiend and loves presents and Santa, which isn't bad, but it's what I feel a calling for my family to head towards.

Sunday my baby turned 8.  EIGHT.  I don't know what else to say about that.  I just can't believe how the time flies.  Riley wanted to spend the day exploring a cavern, and he looped back to Luray, which is fine with me because it's my favorite.  He and Logan were totally enthralled, Savannah was completely unimpressed! It was a good workout, though, since I had to carry her the entire 1.25 miles over quite the incline.  The 64 stairs at the end were fun, too! She's getting heavy!

I'm super excited for Advent to have started, and I'm really excited that I get to weave this season into our learning. I keep mentioning that we're not homeschooling for religious reasons, but the more I'm able to take advantage of the fact that I can weave our faith into our lives more and more, the happier I am :) We'll still spend some time exploring the other festivals and holidays happening this month because my little comparative religion minor (Riley)  just needs to know everything about religions. He's a history major, in case you were wondering.  ;)

I'm excited! Happy Advent!

Monday, November 14, 2011

In Which It's November

Oh, hey...look at that, it's been a few weeks!  Whew!

Let's see...there was no Halloween party because our basement decided to give me trouble....I didn't get to go see my friend Lindsay when she brought her new son home from Africa because my kids were sick and then I had a headache for 3 days where I basically slept non-stop to escape the pain in the back of my neck (bonus: I lost 5 pounds by sleeping instead of eating anything!) Savannah got scarlet fever, Austin quit his job so he could take a new one...I think that covers it :)

 Look! Cute pictures!! We've been enjoying the Tuesday craft days that a very sweet woman in our CC group hosts every week.  In addition to having an amazingly decorated home, she also comes up with an adorable craft each week.  In this one, we did spider cupcakes and then Connor, who is the love of Savannah's life, taught a lesson about garden spiders.
 We were seriously suffering without our basement being functional! A townhouse is small enough without having to jam everything on to two floors! Riley enjoyed moving all over the main floor especially because it allowed him to do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE while listening to his story of the world CDs.  He would listen to them all day, every day if he could.
 We got to enjoy our friends Mia, Kat, and Bella for a sleepover.  Their parents went to a ball! How fun! I wish that non-military institutions would do balls.  I haven't dressed up for a dance since Freshman year of college!! We had a fun (albeit late) sleepover and then the next day, I woke the kids up and rushed them around before realizing it was Veterans Day and there was no preschool.  I'm a genius.
Instead we went to the Marine Corps Museum and gave cards to Veterans.  Savannah was adorable going around saying "Happy Vetwans Day!!" and I'm pretty sure she made several grown men tear up.  All the kids had a great time handing out cards, although the museum has a lot of "reality" in it and seemed to make Kat and Logan very concerned about everything.

In terms of school we're doing well, too.  We're on week 12 of CC, studying the end of the civil war, geographic features of the east coast, and finishing up with a field trip with our friends to Appomattox Courthouse.  Logan's moved on to chapter 7 of Singapore Math A which is on measurements and Riley just finished 2A chapter 2.  Logan's reading is going really well, and so is Riley's.  I'm still really enjoying Teach Your Child to Read and Logan is in the 60s.  Riley is reading Revolutionary War on Wednesday right now and doing very well with it.  The IEW work is going well, too.

Our CC group takes a huge break after this week, allowing us to have time to truly enjoy the Christmas season.  I've been collecting work that will allow us to focus on the holiness of the season and integrate our studies.  We'll also use the time to review our memory work.

I think that's about it!