Monday, September 18, 2017

Week 414 Menu

We enjoyed eating and giving away this giant pan of peanut butter fudge bars (recipe from Mel's Cafe).
Hi everyone,

How is it already September 18th?  This month is flying by.  Our family calendar is getting a little crazy with three kids in sports, plus church activities, plus piano lessons, etc.  But I'm going to get it figured out so we all stay sane, well fed, rested and homework done.

I've decided I'm going to try menu planning from Friday to Friday.  Mondays get too busy.  Mostly with me just staring at the calendar trying to process it all.  :)  

So, menu time for a few days.  I'm excited to start using up the potatoes in our garden.  Yum!

Monday:  good old ground turkey tacos (with homemade taco seasoning)

Tuesday:  chicken pot pie

Thursday:  BBQ chicken pizza

I'll menu plan again on Friday.  :)  Happy Monday!  

What are you making this week?  Feel free to share.  I love it when you do.  And, do you have a favorite menu planning routine?  Like Monday to Monday?  Friday to Friday?  Maybe if I start planning on Friday then Monday won't seem so hard to plan.  

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Week 413 Menu

Hi there!  Hope you all had a fabulous weekend.  I took a quick trip with some of my kiddos to visit my sister.  It was short and super sweet, and the quick break we needed from our regular life.  
Now the kids are back in school, and Washington is drowning in smoke.  It's so thick, I don't even want to go to my car to run errands.  My boys grabbed their Goal Zero neck gaiters to use on the way to the bus stop, more to be silly than anything.  But now it's recommended that you use a N-95 mask when you go outside.  So, we're hunkering down at home and I'm going to menu plan.  

I planned a menu on my phone last week, but never saved it or got around to retyping it. I posted a bit about the start of the school year and some things I'm trying to learn instead.  Lots of yumminess on the menu this week.  I'm trying a bunch of new recipes that I've been adding to my collections on Instagram (my favorite Instagram feature).  

Monday:  we grilled burgers and hot dogs

Tuesday: honey garlic chicken, orzo pilaf, green beans

Friday:  seared salmon with cilantro lime sauce, rice, green beans

Saturday:  Italian sausage and potato soup, Macaroni Grill bread

Sunday:  roasted chicken legs, roasted broccoli, fruit

Extra meal idea:  BBQ chicken pizza

What about you?  What's on YOUR menu this week?  Feel free to share.  I love it when you do.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Random Thoughts: All the Back to School Feelings

Hi guys!  I have tons of thoughts running through my brain lately.  Rather than bombard everyone that I talk to (or text) today with my random thoughts, I thought I'd just type them out so maybe I can move on with my day and continue dusting my very dusty, finger-print smudged house.

School started on Tuesday, so this is day 3 of a totally new routine.  My two oldest are in middle school (6th and 8th grade) so our morning schedule has changed once again.  My 3rd grader is the fastest and most efficient of my kids in the morning.  He knows that he can get ready quickly, clean up his room, pack his backpack, practice the piano and still have enough time to maybe watch a show or play the computer before catching the bus.  My other kids are hardly ever ready until right before the bus is coming up the street.  

I've been listening to some audio books by Gretchen Rubin the past few months.  I listened to the Happiness Project, Happier at Home and most recently Better than Before.  I've realized that this is the perfect time to start new habits and break bad ones (like the fact that my 4 year old is at home with me and my long to do list all day and he loves, loves, loves playing the computer and watching netflix).  As we start our new school routine I am determined to make better habits for myself, which in turn will make better habits for our family.

One of my favorite things that I took away from listening to Better Than Before was the idea that THE BEST TIME TO START A NEW HABIT OR CHANGE SOMETHING IS NOW!  I am the queen of procrastination.  I like to think that I do my best work at the last minute, but that's probably not true.  Even as far as just putting things away, like groceries.  I hate putting things away:  groceries, dishes, laundry, piles of bills, piles of papers, etc.  Lately I've been forcing myself (sad as it sounds) to do things now.  To put away the dishes after they're dry.  To put away the vacuum when I'm done instead of leaving it on the landing for a few days.  I don't know why it's so hard for me, but I figure the more I force myself to do something now, even if I don't want to, the better it is.  Piles don't happen.  I know where things are.  My house is cleaner and more tidy, and if you ask my kids after this summer, if the house is tidy, I'm a much better person to be with.  

One of my favorite things that I read in the Happiness Project (I read it several months ago for my book club pick), was to TACKLE A NAGGING TASK.  I have lots of nagging tasks.  In fact I have a whole room in my house that nags at me.  It's the computer room and as you enter the room there are two closets on each side of the doorway.  Nothing is in the room other than the computer and the closets, but I've been stashing stuff in the closets ever since we moved in 2.7 years ago.  :)  I have piles of bills and paperwork that I haven't forced myself to file and piles of papers that my kids have accumulated that I think are special.  This summer I finally decided to tackle the nagging task of the kids papers.  I spent a couple of hours sorting through papers and putting them in each child's binder.  Now they have a nice and simple keepsake of school pictures (that I never hang on the wall for some reason), awesome school work, art work and programs.  Now I can simply add to it instead of having the giant project nag at me.  Now to tackle the pile of bills/paperwork waiting to be filed.  

My other thought as we forge into this school year is that IT'S OK TO SAY NO.  I need to be super careful with our family schedule and time after school.  I am lucky since I don't have to work outside the home.  But I do have responsibilities, being a mom is the most important one.  I am the primary president in our ward.  I'm the team manager for my son's new competitive soccer team.  I am taking some website design classes (that I put on hold during the summer).  I am a piano teacher.  I need to exercise for my sanity and health.  I love to eat good food and my family does too.  I would love to help everyone with everything.  I would love to carpool with everyone.  I would love to have other kids over at my house so their moms could have a break.  I would love to teach everyone's kids piano lessons.  But if I do this (and I know from experience) that it makes me stretched too thin and life gets too hectic to be very enjoyable.  

So, this year I've had to say no a few times.  I've had to pull out of a carpool.  I discovered that I actually enjoy being with my kids in the car.  We can be flexible with our driving schedule, do homework on the way, read outloud or just talk.  I'm trying to being very careful with when I schedule my piano students.  I'm not adding new students until I know that I can handle it. I want my time with my kids to be as stress-free as possible so I can focus on them and their needs and maybe we can enjoy a game of Skipbo before dinner instead of running around like crazy doing too much.  

My last thing to share is how much I love audiobooks.  I've listened to quite a few books over the last six months.  I have a lot more quiet time than I used to now that some of my kids are old enough to babysit the other kids while I drive around for various reasons.  I've been sharing what I've been listening to on Instagram and have collected a list of books I want to listen to.  I've just finished up the 3rd Maisy Dobbs series.  

My kids have noticed that I've been listening to books and they want to listen too.  We all listened to the BFG while on a raspberry picking expedition and now whenever I see a giant overgrown cucumber or zucchini in my garden I think of snosscumbers (I don't even know how to spell it since I listened to the book).  I plan on having my four year old listen to more books instead of watching shows or playing the computer.   It helps the boredom so much.

Anyway...that's a little of what I've been thinking.  Funny how time changes things so fast.  Our life next week will be totally different from this week when we add homework and church activities to our schedule.  I love summer, but I also love watching my kids go to school and learn new things, learn from new people, learn how to deal with peers, learn to deal with boredom, learn to deal with stress and fear from doing new things.  I want to get my act together so I can help them with that instead of worrying about my piles of nagging tasks.  

What new things are you dealing with these days?  Any words of wisdom to share?  Any audiobooks to recommend?  

This is me in my "Nagging Task" room with cute little side kick, who is begging to play the computer while listening to an audio book.  I'm a lucky lady!  

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Week 412 Menu (a little late)

This week was amazing!  We drove three hours to Durkee, Oregon to see the eclipse in totality.  So amazing, breathtaking and beautiful!  

This was our last week of school.  I took the kids school shopping individually.  The kids love going with me alone to buy school supplies and clothes.  It's a lot of driving, but it's worth it in the end.  It saves my sanity from not having to answer so many questions of "Can I get this?" at the same time.

This is what we actually ate this week...
Monday:  fancy sandwiches (Costco ham, extra sharp white cheddar cheese, lettuce, garden tomatoes, pickles on bakery french bread since I didn't have time to make this yummy bread)

Tuesday:  fried potatoes, chicken sausage, peppers and onions

Wednesday:  Greek yogurt parmesan chicken strips, simple orzo pilaf, garden veggies

Thursday:  leftovers

Friday:  pizza (see my instagram post for my new favorite shortcut)

Saturday:  church potluck picnic (took tons of garden produce to share as our contribution)

Sunday:  we're having 7up grilled chicken, cous cous, green beans, corn on the cob and watermelon (from our garden)

That's what our week's worth of dinners looked like.  How about you?  What did you have for dinner this week?  Feel free to share.  I love it when you do.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Favorite Thing: Tile Mate

Hi there!  My friend surprised me with the sweetest, most thoughtful gift for my birthday.  She remembered that I had told her about the time that I was coaching my five year old's soccer team (that's another story, they were desperate for ANYONE to coach) and almost missed a whole game because I couldn't find my keys.  I just remembered that I blogged about that day (my post was labeled Lessons Learned From a Frazzled Soccer Coach).

So, yesterday my friend brought me the most life changing gift. A Tile Mate.

It's a key finder.  A phone finder.  Or an anything finder.  But for me it's life changing.  

I am constantly losing my keys and my phone, but I think those days are over.

All you have to do is download the TILE app on your phone and sync it to your tile.  You can put your tile on anything that you want to find.  I put it on my keys.  
If you lose your keys you open the app on your phone and it makes your tile ring and it has all kinds of info about the location of your keys.  

If you want to find your phone, just double click the tile and it makes your phone ring, even if it was on silent.  Amazing!  

There is also this other style, the Tile Slim that you can adhere to anything, like your wallet or whatever.  It doesn't have the hole in it, but comes with adhesive.  

Anyway...I thought I'd share this with you.  It was the most thoughtful gift and I'm super excited about it.  I have the best family and friends and was amazed at the thoughtfulness of people on my birthday yesterday.  So many messages, texts, happy birthday wishes in person, and gifts.  I am blessed!

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I've included some Amazon affiliate links, because I love Amazon.  The Tile Slim's are actually cheaper on Amazon than at Target.  Hugs!
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