Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Plan: 2/27- Chinese Takeout While They Sleep

I missed posting my menu plan last week! Rest-assured, we ate- and quite well! Fajitas, chicken cordon bleu sandwiches, and shrimp quesadillas made appearances for supper and made for some happy tummies. Last Sunday, we impulsively asked the kids what they would choose if they could have anything for supper. The consensus? Cheese pizza and lemonade. I whipped those things up lickety- split and then my husband and I enjoyed a late supper of Chinese takeout once they were in bed. Our kids will happily eat Chinese food, but they were even more excited about the pizza. And, since it was just the two of us, we could choose any old weird things we wanted. Plus, it didn't cost much to feed just a pair!

On to this week! Here's what's hittin' the table:


B-Cereal, Applesauce, Milk
L-Pancakes, Bacon, Oranges
D-My nephew's birthday party! We had burgers and such... cook-out sort of foods. Can I just tell you how yummy that tasted after the winter we've been having?

Monday (Happy Valentine's Day!):

B-Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal, Milk (This oatmeal rocks, by the way, and is SO much healthier than the "packet" version...)
L-P,B,&J, String Cheese, Oranges, Water
D-Amy's Taco Grande (this is very similar to my Taco Pie recipe, but looks quicker, so I'm giving it a try!)


B-Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Muffins, Hard-Boiled Egg, Juice
L-Chick Peas & Ham, Milk
D-Buffalo Chicken Chili w/ Blue Cheese Tortilla Chips


B-Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Muffins, Hard-Boiled Egg, Juice
L-Chili, Chips, Carrots, Milk
D- Sloppy Joes, Corn Chips, Corn


B-PB Toast, Apples, Milk
L-Black Bean and Veggie Nachos, Water
D-Veggie Soup & Grilled Cheese


L-Cheesy Beans & Rice, Water
D-Extra Cheesy Pizza (I'm trying out Jessica's sauce recipe this week!)


B-Apple Muffins, Hard-Boiled Eggs (Have you made my apple muffins yet? They're kind of life-changing...)
L-Taco Soup, Chips (after our big Aldi run!)
D-Laura's Mac & Cheese w/ Ham & Mushrooms

Yum, yum! And I'm so excited because I already have the whole next month's worth of menus planned AND I even have some of the shopping for it done. Feels good to be organized! Tell me...

How do you like to menu plan?

This post is linked to Menu Plan Menu.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Two Months, Three Pounds

(Once again, I am happily participating in The Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday Writing Prompt. This week's prompt? Five years ago.)

I shuffled up to our nurse for the day a little shyly. Which isn't like me. But, then again, I didn't often ask for favors...

"So, um," I started out. "I was just wondering. I mean, I love holding her against me of course, but how much does she need to weigh in order for her to be held wrapped in a blanket?"

"Well, it's not a precise science, why do you ask?"

"My mom has to fly home tomorrow and, well, our daughter is two months old now... but she's never been able to hold her on a visit...?

"I think it can be arranged," she smiled.

She quickly checked our precious baby's logs; protocol dictated that she needed to be over three pounds to be held in this manner.

She giggled.

"It's like God knew you were going to ask. She weighed in at 2 lb 13 oz yesterday morning. This morning? Three pounds, one ounce."

And so I gazed upon my beautiful three pound two-month old, snuggled close to her Bama. My mom's eyes met mine briefly.

And we shared mothers' tears.

Confessions of a Recovering Judgmental Mommy

I've reread this post dozens of times now.

I stand by it. It's all true. And I think most of you took it just as I meant it... as a list of some issues, which side of the fence I'm on, and an acknowledgment that it's okay if you do things differently.

But there's a nagging voice in my head. A voice that keeps suggesting that piece could come across as preachy, holierthanthou, and Pollyannaish. I've read posts like that before. The ones where people talk about taking the high road and wind up making others feel lousy?

Please know that that was notand is notmy intent.

It was important for me to write that all out as a reminder to myself. You see...

I'm trying desperately to recover from being so judgmental.

I judge. I do. All the time. I hear another mom talk about giving her son poptarts every day for breakfast and I inwardly roll my eyes and think, "Seriously? Is that the best you can do?" I hear couples giggling together about how their children know all the key players on C.S.I. and I cringe. A dear friend describes how they got their daughter to be such a good sleeper; it involves hours of crying and it makes me want to cry.

I judge.

But I'm working on it. And I truly am getting better.

I still have my opinions, of course, and that means I do believe what I am doing is "right" or at the very least "a good choice." Butand here has been my epiphanyI realized something...

Other mothers have opinions too. Other mothers think they're making the better choices. Other mothers have looked at the same data and come to different conclusions.

We can each only do our own best.

And so, when I find myself feeling critical of a choice someone else is making for her family, I try to remember that she's doing her best. She's picking her battles. She may have different priorities than me. Her choosing something else does not make me wrong... and vice versa.

My name is JessieLeigh... and I'm a recovering judgmental mommy. I have a ways to go.

(Oh, and by the way? I promise to move away from this topic now and on to something less intense... you know, like what we're eating next week or something. ;))

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Part 2: Debate vs. Judgment

I've already told you all that I love you just the way you are... including any choices you make that strike me as odd or quirky. My friend Amy raised a great point in the comments. In a nutshell, she asks...

What about debate? Isn't it a GOOD thing for us to discuss these issues? To hash them out? Isn't that how we learn and either change or reaffirm our own stances?

The short answer?

Yes. It's a good thing.

But here's what I've noticed...

Too much of the time? It's not debate. It's a subtle form of female attack that we women love to use to try to undermine the other person. It looks something like this:

Woman #1 sends out a quick tweet: "Help! Looking for something easy to toss together for supper! Links?"

Woman #2, trying to help, replies: "How about this? My whole fam loves it!" with a link to her mother-in-law's famous macaroni and cheese recipe... the one made with Velveeta.

Woman #1 checks it out and writes back: "I'm sure it's tasty! But I won't serve my kids fake cheese. :) :) :)"

Snarkity snark snark snark. Oh, those little emoticons just add to the snark.

This isn't debate. Debate requires two willing, fully-aware participants in my opinion. Had Woman #2 said, "How about this one since it uses Velveeta which is, you know, the most healthy cheese", then, fine. Feel free to debate and discuss. But this isn't what I see happening. I see a whole lot of women who seem to be looking for things to jump on.

I recently read a post about finding good prices on milk. Lots of helpful advice there... until someone had to hijack the comments with something like this:

"Why are you drinking milk? It's not for humans... it's for baby cows. It's not right." Blah blah blah.

Judgment. Superiority complexes. Sometimes outright nastiness.

Look, I think it's great if you have strong opinions. I hope you do! And I'm confident enough in my own choices that, if you catch me on a day when I have the time and energy, I will happily debate with you...

But if I happen to post a pic of my children enjoying a joyful Kool-Aid toast, I'd kindly ask that you refrain from using it as a platform for your campaign against corn syrup. That's all I'm saying.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Vaccinate, Cuddle, and Drink Diet Coke... and So?

I am raising my children alongside me in the Catholic faith. (But I do not believe your Protestant soul is destined for hell.)

I serve my children 1% milk and I truly believe it is good for them. (But I do not think you're stupid or wrong to choose whole, raw milk.)

I choose to avoid all soda and gum for my children, even on "special occasions." (But I don't take issue if you give your preschooler some root beer.)

I firmly believe I am doing the right thing for my children and my community by vaccinating them. (But I also believe you've done your research and have your reasons if you choose not to.)

The thought of "sleep-training" makes me feel a little ill, to be honest. (But I'm not going to debate with you if you've found it works for your family.)

I think routines and early bedtimes are best for small children. (But I won't judge you if that's not how you do things.)

I like Diet Coke and will continue to enjoy it now and again. (But I do hear you when you tell me why it's not so good for me.)

I am completely proud to be a stay-at-home mom and I do it because I think it is fantastic for my children and husband too. (But it is not my belief that "staying home" should be the measuring stick by which we gauge a good wife or mother.)

I am as likely to make my own from scratch macaroni and cheese as I am to serve up the stuff that comes in a blue box...

Because both get the job done adequately and neither is an indication that I am better, smarter, or "right."

How about you? How do you feel about those issues? Have you ever felt put-down because of how you do things? (Just so you know... I love you just the way you are. )

Image source

Linked to WFMW because, after all, aren't we all trying our best to find what works?

10 Things I Bought For Less Than $10 (total)

I live in New England. We're known for a few things here... beautiful foliage, snowy winters, a whole slew of Ivy League schools, and, oh yeah, a high cost of living.

I won't lie. Even though I grew up here, I was seriously concerned when I moved back here from the Midwest. How would this impact my grocery budget? Would I have to make huge changes?

Answer? No.

Groceries DO cost more here. Produce can be outrageous. That's why it's nice to have some tricks. And, rest assured, I didn't have to go nag or bargain with anyone to get these prices. (I tip my hat to those of you who haggle with the best of 'em but, me? No thank you...)

Here are ten things I picked up on Saturday for a total of $9.01...
  1. 5 lb organic carrots ($1.99)
  2. 3 lb organic apples ($2.04)
  3. 1 head organic lettuce ($.99)
  4. 2 mangoes ($.99)
  5. 3 lb grapes ($1.50)
  6. 6 lb bananas ($1.40)
  7. 6 limes, 5 lemons, and 6 navel oranges ($1.83)
  8. 2 lb strawberries ($1.37)
  9. 3 broccoli crowns ($1.08)
  10. 5 lb green bell peppers ($2.92)
How on earth did I score those prices? I shopped the "discount produce rack" which is, oddly enough, located next to the lobster tank in my store. Honestly, I've only encountered anyone else shopping there twice in all my trips. Could be because it's hard to find.

In case you're doing the math, those things actually add up to just over $16. By scanning my own groceries as I shopped, I saved about two dollars. I also had a $4 off any produce purchase of $15 or more coupon from a previous trip. Many grocery stores like to entice you to spend more money the next time with these coupons. Most, I just cast aside, but coupons for fruits and veggies are rare!

I didn't even know that rack was there for the first few months we lived here. I resigned myself to having to rely heavily on canned and frozen veggies since fresh were often cost-prohibitive. Now? As long as I keep an open mind, I can almost always fill our fridge (and some of our freezer!) with fresh fruits and veggies.

Wondering what's wrong with them? Sometimes, I have no idea. The lettuce had one brown edge on an outer leaf. The bananas were spotty. Two carrots were poking out of the bag. The grapes were in large part "loose" and no longer attached to their vine. The apples and citrus were absolutely gorgeous.

I do try to deal with my discount produce fairly quickly. If we're not going to eat it right away, I prepare it for freezing. Things like citrus, carrots, and potatoes (I often score fingerlings for less than a dollar a box!) give you more wiggle room.

In a state not known for great local deals, I save a ton by shopping off the discount produce rack. And that makes me- and my wallet- very, very happy.

When it's not gardening season, how do you save money on produce?

Linked to Top Ten {Tuesday}

Friday, February 18, 2011

On (Redefining) Friendship

(Once again, I'm participating in Lisa-Jo's five minute Friday...)

Five minute writing prompt: "No editing, no back-tracking, no pauses. Just words. This week, let’s focus on friendship."


I've never met her. Never laid eyes on her smiling face. I've never even been to the state she calls home. Her children do not know mine and our husbands have never watched the game together, though I like to think they would all enjoy each other's company.

So sometimes it feels odd to refer to her as "friend" to those around me here. To try to explain the meaning and importance of her.

We have spoken on the phone just a few times... and always during crisis, it seems. When my world seemed to collapse around me, she was the first to reach out and say, "I'm here. Call me. We'll chat."

Didn't matter that we'd never shared hugs in person; we leaned on each other over phone lines. Miles were crossed and overlooked in those moments.

I've jetted off five word direct messages on Twitter or wordy rambling emails. I've received a few too. And always, always, I feel the strength and trust of the friendship we have forged.

"Bloggy friends" do not make sense until you have one.

But, once you do...

You get it. You feel it. You redefine friendship beyond the faces that pass through your daily life...


(In case you're burning with curiosity about who I'm talking about here... it's Amy. Love you, girl!)

I've Been Living Under a Rock

So... I'm just going to admit it:

I had never tried cooking with panko breadcrumbs before. Crazy, huh?

But I have now! And I loved them! I'm giving some away, too. Along with an autographed cookbook. Nice, eh?

Hurry, though! This giveaway is only running for two days.

Go right here to enter.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Housekeeping Shortcuts

Let me make this very clear and simple:

I love to cook and bake. I do NOT love to clean.

But here are a couple little things I've found that make it easier for me to at least keep it together:

  1. Don't sort the laundry. Unless something is brand new, I don't worry about colors bleeding. I just wash it all in cold.
  2. Or DO sort laundry, but in a way that makes life easier for you. I wash the kids' clothes together in one load and my husband's and my things in another. This makes the sorting and putting away easier for me.
  3. When you need to wash your hands, wash a dish. Any time I need to wash my hands while cooking, I wash something. Two birds, one stone, people.
  4. Keep the vacuum out. Is this tacky? Probably, but it works for me. Unless I'm having company over, I leave the vacuum tucked in a handy corner, already plugged in.
  5. Bake yummy things... you'd be amazed how much dust people will overlook if the whole place smells like brownies...

Are you a reluctant housekeeper? What's your favorite quick tip?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

10 Ways NOT to Celebrate Valentine's Day

  1. Buy raw shrimp that STILL HAVE LEGS ON THEM and then decide to prepare them for supper at 6:30 am.
  2. Think for sure you'll remember the chocolate that's melting on the stove while you get some things done... who needs a timer, right?
  3. Decide that it's fine for the baby to eat off her tray full of rice and lentils without securing it down... I mean, really, how far could that stuff really fly?
  4. Say, over and over again, "Did you ASK to use the iPod? Who told you that was okay?" and get blank stares for replies. Start the day off right by putting said child on "final warning".
  5. Make 50 miniature jelly heart sandwiches directly on the counter... I mean, how messy could it be, right?
  6. Forget- again- to take the one year old's shoes off before letting her play with play dough. Nothing more fun than scraping green stuff out of tread with an old mascara brush...
  7. Wake the baby early from her nap to make it to a preschool party that you organized. This will definitely bode well for later...
  8. Give your six year old son a new shirt for Valentine's Day. Nothing ensures a more enthusiastic response than a new green t-shirt he can't wear for a couple months!
  9. Eat some leftover spinach soup for lunch, as a nod to health, but skip covering it in the microwave. I mean, you're so good at keeping an eye on things, right? (See numbers 2 &3...)
  10. Decide that you'll treat yourself since it's Valentine's Day and have a glass of Diet Coke. Leave said glass too close to laptop. Watch, in slow-mo horror, as the baby knocks it over. Realize that you no longer have working T, G, B, or 5 keys.
Sigh. So that's how it goes, folks. I actually had a lovely day, all told, but it was not without its moments! If you don't see me tweeting, emailing, commenting, or blogging super regularly, it's because- to do so- I have to wander down to the Tundra where the temperature is approximately 20 below. (Okay, to be fair, it's more like 45 down here, but STILL...)

Oh, and do you have any tips for fixing a laptop keyboard after a spill?

This post is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday}.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Menu Plan: 2/13- Valentine's Day and More

Happy Valentine's Day! I absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt adore Valentine's Day. I love it more than just about any other holiday except perhaps Christmas! Go ahead and roll your eyes. Tell me it's a big marketing scam. Don't care. I love it! So it should come as no surprise that this is the class holiday party I volunteer to organize every year. I will be happily making little jelly sandwich hearts for everyone just like always. Really, this is bound to be a happy week for me!


B-Cereal, Applesauce, Milk
L-Amy's Breakfast Burritos (Little G. ate about a cup of this filling!)
D-Swiss Cheese and Caramelized Onion Paninis, Orange Slices (These were on last week's menu, but we missed that lunch since we were at the zoo!)

Monday (Happy Valentine's Day!):

B-Oatmeal w/ a Strawberry Jelly Heart on top!, Milk
L-P,B,&J, Oranges, Milk
D-Seafood Crepes (A definite fave of my sweetheart!)


B-Lynn's Baked Banana Oatmeal, Yogurt, Juice
L-Rice & Lentils, Oranges, Milk
D-PW's Pasta w/ Tomato Blue Cheese Sauce, Broccoli


B-Baked Banana Oatmeal, Scr. Eggs, Milk
L-Pasta w/ Butter & Parm, Apples, Water


B-PB Toast, Apples, Milk
L-Cheese Quesadillas, Berries, Water


B-Smoothies, Toast
L-Cheesy Beans & Rice, Water
D-Ham & Mushroom Pizza (This was one of the only combos hubby and I could agree on when we were dating back in college. ;))


B-Scrambled Eggs w/ Bacon, Toast
D-Black Bean Tostadas

Can't wait!! Hubby won't touch that tomato blue cheese sauce with a ten foot pole but, happily, he's content to eat pasta with butter, salt, and pepper, so we'll be just fine. This will be my first time making Lynn's Baked Banana Oatmeal but I see no reason it won't be a hit around here!

So tell me. Valentine's Day... love it or hate it?

This post is linked to Menu Plan Menu.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Baking Up A Fresh Start

(I'm linking up to The Gypsy Mama's 5 Minute Writing Challenge again. I hope I don't bore or bother you all with these exercises... they're really, really good for me though. If you haven't tried it yet, I really urge you to! It's so freeing...)

I pushed him away. He whispered, "Mornin, Sunshine" and I grumbled. My head was throbbing and I just wanted him to get up already. To not let that alarm go off one.more.time.

I was wrong. I so often am.

So I stare at the brown swirls in the big white bowl. I turn and turn and turn the red spatula, folding, mixing, creating. Smells of cocoa rise up to me and I brush a tear aside before I inadvertently over-salt the brownies...

This is what I do. This is how I speak my love.

I bake.

Not big starchy loaves of bread or puffy rolls or fresh buns...

No, I bake sweets. Brownies and cookies and cakes and trifles and pastries and tooth-achingly sweet nothings to try to tell him that

Yes. Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.

I do see his sweetness and I do know he loves me and I do know he needs more from me and

Yes. Yes. Yes. I was wrong.

He understands. He'll lick the crumb from his thumb and grin at me and we'll start again.

A fresh start. Another chance. A shot at getting it right.

Sometimes one of us falters in this dance of love, but we know how to pick the steps back up.

And we're never afraid to improvise.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Peppermint Mocha Icing

I'm rich in ideas and short on time today!

I thought I would leave you all with a quick recipe for a delicious simple icing that's super fast to make and easy to customize. (It is NOT, however, made of all pure, whole foods. Just so you know. I, for one, do not believe icing counts as health food no matter how you make it, so I'm just gonna go with it... ;))

  • 3 T powdered creamer, any flavor you'd like (I used peppermint mocha.)
  • 1 scant T hot water
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Dissolve creamer in hot water until you get a milky, smooth liquid. (You could probably just use liquid creamer too, but I think you get more concentrated flavor with the powder.) Add in powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Voila.

Part of the beauty of this (beyond the utter simplicity) is that, no matter what flavor you make, your icing will still be white. This gives you freedom to leave it alone or color it however you see fit.

p.s. I inadvertently posted this photo under my "Day in the Life..." post as pouring creamer for hubby's coffee. I later realized that this is, in fact, the icing I made NOT his coffee cup. My bad. I really did pour his creamer for him though- I'm nice like that. ;)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why I Adore Ebates

Have you heard of Ebates yet?
Oh, of course you have. Right? I mean, since I've seen about a zillion bloggers post about it, I have to assume you have too. Here's a better question:

Are you using Ebates yet?

I hope so!

I tend to be pretty late when it comes to jumping on these bandwagons, I must admit. But it's been well over a year now that I've been using Ebates. So I want you to know that I really waited to tell you about it... I don't like passing on things that I'm not totally confident in! Mine is not a "deal blog", after all, so it's not so time-sensitive around here.

In case you haven't heard or have forgotten, Ebates works like this:

You go to the Ebates website first, sign in, and select the store you wish to shop from. You'll be redirected right to the regular online store site and carry on as usual. You'll earn a percentage back from your purchases that you'll get back in a check.

Pretty simple process, really.

Here are a couple things I'd like to add, based on my experience:

  • You do not have to save, submit, or track anything. Ebates will do it all for you.
  • If you start shopping somewhere and then realize you forgot to go through Ebates, you can go to Ebates, choose the store, and- at least every time it happened to me- your items will still show up in your shopping cart.
  • Coupons codes still work when using Ebates.
  • You are still ordering all your items directly from the store's site- your shopping experience will feel exactly the same.
  • You really will get a check- I just got the email that thirty some odd dollars are on the way- and every little bit counts.
  • This is an easier way to save money than coupons or running around town!

So here's the deal.

I really don't get too involved with too many programs or sites. I'm skeptical and simple. But Ebates? Ebates really, really works for me. If you think it could work for you too, you can sign up right here.

The links above are affiliate links. If you sign up through them, I will earn a referral bonus- Thank You! :)

Disney's Desperate Housewives

My sister-in-law emailed this to me.

It's funny. It really is.

It's also a sad commentary on wives, in my opinion...

Because, while this tongue in cheek cartoon pokes fun at the plights of the princesses, it's also a pretty accurate reflection of conversations happening among women all over the country right now.

Griping. Whining. Fussing. Complaining.

  • "Our car isn't nice enough..."
  • "My husband wants sex ALL THE TIME..."
  • "No way will I put out the effort for that..."
  • "He actually wants me to look sexy for him!"
  • "I'm expected to take care of these little ones all by myself all day long..."

All followed by huge, exasperated sighs.

Listen. I'm not saying it's a bad thing to vent occasionally. Or to have good friends with whom you can compare sagas. But don't we owe our husbands a bit more respect than that? And, really, if you actually think about it, are any of those things really so bad or so much to ask?

I, for one, would like to work really hard on changing both what rolls through my head and what comes out of my mouth to sound more like:

  • "We are so blessed to have two vehicles..."
  • "I'm so lucky my husband wants to be with ME all the time!"
  • "The man I married deserves my time and energy."
  • "Isn't it amazing that he finds my post-baby bod sexy?"
  • "I am so grateful we're on the same page about me staying home with the children."

I am not even close to perfect. I roll my eyes sometimes. I stomp and fuss and feel put out.

But I really want to work on it. I don't want to read a cartoon like that and think, "Amen, Sister!" Rather, I want to think about MY prince and what he sees in me and hears from me. I am in no way desperate and I want that to come across loud and clear.

Now excuse me while I go don some fishnets. ;)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Coconut Yummies

Maybe it's the fact that it's cold and miserable around here and coconut just tastes and smells like the tropics...

Maybe it's because my husband totally won't steal my treats if there's coconut involved...

Maybe it's because I have a big bag of shredded coconut in my cabinet right now...

These ten recipes are just calling my name!

  1. Samoa Cookie Granola from So I Married A Mennonite (I made this one already- totally AMAZING!)
  2. Black Bean Coconut Brownies from $5 Dinners (Brownies? Yes, please!)
  3. Homemade Samoas from Baking Bites (My love of that granola should be an indication that I adore Samoas!)
  4. Caramel Vanilla Coconut Banana Muffins from Master of Her Romaine (which is just a delightfully clever name, by the way!)
  5. Toasted Coconut Ginger Blondies from The Tiny Skillet (Because, you know, I do love my blondies!)
  6. Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies from two peas and their pod (Toasted coconut is a whole nother level of yumminess, in my opinion!)
  7. Coconut Tres Leches Hot Chocolate from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures (Lynn has yet to lead me astray and this sounds divine!)
  8. Coconut Shrimp I from All Recipes (because, if almost a thousand people rate it an average of five stars, I'm thinking it's good...)
  9. Angel Food Cookies from The Finer Things In Life (My mom makes Angel Cookies and they're some of my favorites... these are different, but look yummy!)
  10. Whatcha got for me? Any delicious coconut-y goodness you care to suggest? I'm all ears!
Linked to Top Ten {Tuesday}

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Menu Plan: 2/6 - Soup, Glorious Soup

It has been so cold and snowy and icy and sleet-y and icky around here that soup has sounded delicious to me! Added to that, the nineteen month old just learned how to eat soup neatly from a bowl with a spoon (and thinks she's hot stuff, natch) so it's showing up in our menus a lot this month!


B-Cereal, Yogurt, Grape Juice
L-Choc. Chip Pancakes w/ Whipped Cream, Strawberry Jello, Milk (So indulgent and fun!)
D-Super Bowl Party at Bama and Papa's- I brought the cheese bread (an Italian mozzerella version and a cheddar ranch variety.) GO PACKERS!!!


B-Cinnamon Banana Oatmeal, Milk
L-P,B,&J, Apples, Pretzels, Water
D-Ravioli, Green Beans


B-Cranberry Walnut Muffins, Cheese, Juice (My little guy declared walnuts the "best nut EVER" last week so I think he'll be happy with these!)
L-Hot Dogs, Corn, Milk
D-Sweet & Sour Chicken, Rice (I do NOT add the food coloring when I make this... it's a lovely color even without it. :))


B-Cranberry Walnut Muffins, Applesauce, Milk
L-Rice, Yogurt, Broccoli, Water (such a hodge-podge!!)
D-Chili Burgers, Oven Fries


B-Jelly Toast, Yogurt, Juice
L-Baked Potatoes w/ Cheese, Applesauce, Milk
D-Homemade Double Carrot Chicken Noodle Soup topped w/ Biscuits (Double carrots? Why yes. The 1yo will eat ALL of them otherwise!)


B-Smoothies, Fruit
L-Cheesy Beans & Rice, Water
D-Pepperoni and Meatball Pizza (I'll give you a hint- this one was chosen by someone with a Y chromosome...)


B-Cinnamon Rolls, Sausage Links, Fruit
L-Grilled Swiss Cheese & Caramelized Onion Paninis, Orange Slices
D-PW's Spinach Soup w/ Gruyere Cheese, Cheese Bread Roll (<-- an experiment- I'll let you know how it goes!)

Mmmm... that Saturday menu is looking pretty delish to me right this moment!

What kind of foods do you reach for when the weather turns ugly?

This post is linked to Menu Plan Menu.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I Bet You Didn't Even Know This Was Wrong With You

Here's where I tell you that I don't watch TV during the day.

(Whoops- not true. I sometimes watch football on Sundays with my hubby. Anywho...)

Yesterday, I had a bunch of laundry to fold while my bigs were at school. The baby was napping and I wanted some background noise. I clicked the tube on and just left it on whatever network channel it had been on from the night before. And The Doctors was on.

Are you familiar with this show? I've not really watched it, but the gist seems to be that there are four doctors of different specialties up there in a panel formation talking about various issues and innovations. Okay. Good enough. Whatever.

So they have this special guest urologist on there and she starts talking about how women really need to- I kid you not- stand and squat over a mirror to get a good look at what's going on, *ahem*, DOWN THERE. Alright. Perhaps there's a good reason for this...

Now, lest you think that we're to do this to check for any symptoms of illness or problems that could affect our health, allow me to (delicately) explain the why of all this.

She went on to explain that after having given birth- or in "later years" (<-- read- past the age of 25) we ladies are no longer as attractive there. You don't need the graphic details that I heard outlined as I matched socks but it all had to with fat distribution and all sorts of nonsense.

Apparently there are procedures to "fix" us. To rejuvenate us back to that "early 20's" state. The segment concluded by encouraging- insisting really- that women should absolutely scrutinize themselves because, really, you could feel so, so, so much better about yourself after one (or more!) or these procedures.


Is this really what we need to be doing to women???

I don't know about you, but I have enough insecurities without a team of "experts" going on air to tell me just one more part of myself that's not good enough. I have enough commercials telling me my grey hairs, wrinkles, or stretch marks are unbearable flaws. And now this? The "specialist" says that you might not be able to see the "problem" when sitting or laying down, so it's essential that you assume this squat-y pose to really assess yourself. You know, in case you thought you were A-OK as is.


I'm all about doing any self-checks recommended to help keep us healthy. Checking your breasts? Good plan. Scanning your skin for changes in moles? Smart move.

Looking for problems? Seeking out something to worry about? Stressing over something that IS NOT WRONG WITH YOU?


I don't care what a bunch of Doctors try to tell you.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

More Than Enough

Yes, I know it's February.

I was sorting through some pictures and I stumbled upon this one, taken just before we turned in for the night on Christmas Eve.

And I was staggered.

We live on a very tight budget.

We plan and plan and plan so that we aren't crippled by unexpected (or just unplanned for!) expenses.

We did not go into debt or spend hundreds of dollars on Christmas presents.

Even so.

We live in such overwhelming abundance.

I'm not ashamed of how we did Christmas, nor do I feel like the true message was lost on my children.

But I'm putting this picture here- publishing and preserving it- so that I can glance back at it any time that sly little voice whispers in my ear, "Wouldn't it be so nice if you had..."

We have enough. More than enough.

We live in abundance.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You Tell Me: How Do You Handle Muffin Tins?

So, I'm just dying to know...

How do YOU keep muffins and cupcakes from sticking to your tins?

Paper liners? Silicone pans? Butter? Oil? Crisco? Cooking spray?

What's your secret?

I have silicone pans, but they still stick unless I spray the tar out of them with cooking spray. I find butter and oil to be a hassle (and butter seems to "soak in" too much). I ousted shortening a while back now (and it's the same kind of hassle, anyway). Cooking spray works, but it leaves a sticky mess over the "flat parts" of the pans. Truthfully, I love paper liners, but I never think to buy them and I'm not entirely sure they're not leaching something icky into our food. (Are they? There's someone out there bound to know the answer to that.)

Sooo... what's YOUR method? What's your tried and true trick for baking muffins without having to grumble over scrubbing the pan later on?

And, if you're ever looking to get me something, paper liners would be much appreciated. ;)

"A Day In The Life Of..." JessieLeigh

My friend Rebekah had an awesome idea...

What if we were to capture a photograph of every hour of our day? "A Day In The Life Of..." was born. I was fascinated with the project. I was particularly thrilled that she was presenting a photography challenge that in no way required photographer skills. This was good news for me.

I begged her to nag me- to REMIND me- because, otherwise, I knew I'd forget. I am most certainly not one to walk around with a camera around me neck.

So she did! And here you'll find the results. I believe you will, indeed, learn something about me from this exercise...

It started out well enough. I woke just before six.

5:45 a.m. found me pouring creamer for my husband's coffee, so it would be ready for him...

At 6:45, with a couple cups of coffee down and a couple hours of cleaning under my belt, a quick Twitter check was in order...

At 7:45, I arranged baseball cupcakes on a plate for my son's party that was starting at noon...

By 8:45, I had moved on to arranging the craft stations...

Finally caving, I was letting my kids watch PBS by 9:45 (*blush*)...

At 10:45, the pennant banner was strung...

At 11:45, I found a certain little someone munching dried mango... with her skirt around her ankles. Our one and a half year old totally thinks she's ready to potty-train, so this is a common occurence...

I scurried to help with that situation and remembered to put a touch of lipstick on before the party started fifteen minutes later.

And then?




That's all, folks. This is what you've learned about me.

I hate taking pictures.

I forget to take pictures.

Even worse? I married someone just exactly like me in that department.

It's pathetic, really. If I told all the exotic places we've travelled to without a single shot to show for it, it might appall you. So I won't. Just suffice it to say that we are bad, bad, bad at remembering to take photos.

And so, alas, "A Day in MY Life" ends just shy of noon. Sorry, Rebekah.