Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tell Me Thursday

Our youngest son had his first loose tooth. It's extraction was imminent and I was trying to get a picture of it before it came out. He struggled to position his mouth so that I could see the tooth, and this is the best picture I got (note that you cannot see the tooth, lol).

He lost the tooth the next day and here is what he looks like now:

Tell Me Thursday

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 9-21-09

Its hard to believe its already Monday again, and time to plan this week's menu. I am looking for a new soup recipe, so if you have a favorite, please share in the comments. Here is what we're going to have this week:

Breakfast (will include fruit and/ or veggie):
Smoothies made with fruit and homemade yogurt
Scrambled eggs and/ or ham
French Toast with butter and maple syrup
Breakfast burrito
yogurt with maple syrup or fruit

Chicken Salad Sandwich
Green Salad

Mixed nuts
Carrots and cucumbers with dip
hummus and chips
yogurt with maple syrup
chips and salsa


Tuna Burgers (like a crabcake but made with leftover tuna or canned tuna, and served on a toasted bun with lettuce, etc) with oven roasted potatoes and caramelized onions

Pan Fried Tilapia, sauted squash and black beans with brown rice

Fish Tacos (made with leftover tilapia) with chipotle mayo, lettuce, and avacado and fresh fruit (probably red grapes and strawberries)

Grass-fed beef roast with a green salad

BBQ beef sandwiches with veggie tray and dip

I'd also like to make soup one day but am looking for something different from our usual soups (chicken noodle, broccoli cheese, french onion, shrimp and corn chowder, black-eyed pea soup). I'd love any soup suggestions you might have. What does your family love?

Find more menus at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bento Lunch 9-15-09

Bentos have been in the news lately with back to school time and everyone being more budget conscious. A bento is a lunch container that has other little containers or compartments inside into which you can place appropriate sized servings. We use bentos made by Laptop Lunches for dh's lunch every day at work and for myself and the kids when we travel. We love our bentos and I love that bentos are getting lots of press, but I am a little concerned with some of the articles. Some bento users enjoy using artistry when packing their lunches. These lunches are beautiful and contain fruit, cheeses or sandwiches shaped with cookie cutters, eggs cut out to look like animals and other really pretty and interesting elements. You can see pictures of these beautiful lunches by doing a simple search online. They are lovely, but these types of pictures and their references in articles about bento concern me. I'm afraid that people will see these and think that a bento must look like this and if theirs don't that they are failures and they will give up on bentos, or never even give bentos a chance because it looks like too much work.

So, I am here as a bento using underachiever to tell you that its okay to pack lunches that do not contain bunny shapped hard boiled eggs or apple slices cut out in star shapes. Pack your bento with leftovers from dinner, sandwiches or salads. Add a few little snacks to the smaller compartments and enjoy your efforts. Even without all the fuss and artistry (unless of course you want to cut out shapes - nothing wrong with that), your lunch will look beautiful and inviting. My kids are much more likely to eat something from their laptop lunch box, even if they do not usually eat it, than that same thing on a regular plate or container. The above photo is dh's lunch for today. Isn't it pretty? Its just a salad, mixed nuts and strawberries and blueberries. Now imagine that same lunch in a plastic container and sandwich baggies. Definitely not as inviting that way, don't you think?

Do you bento?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Garden Update 9-14-09

Our little seedlings are growing.

Our lettuce is getting bigger and starting to put out new leaves.

The spinach is also starting to put out true leaves that are growing so quickly.

Here are the little tiny carrots. They are so cute :o)

We are still getting tomatoes. In fact, since the weather has become more mild, they have begun to put out more tomatoes than before.

We are also getting more peppers.

We also have small beet seedlings, fingerling potato seedlings, one cabbage seedling and parsley seedlings. Our lemons are starting to turn yellow. I am planning to plant a few more cabbage, lettuce and spinach plants, some garlic and some kale.

What's happening in your garden?

Menu Plan Monday 9-14-09

My mind has not been on cooking for the last few weeks and my heart has not been in it for longer than that. For a while now, we've been concerned with the health of a parent and trying to get appointments and diagnoses, etc. I am amazed at just how emotionally exhausting that can be. If you are a praying person, we could really use your prayers. Thank you.

Okay, the menu for this week is going to be plain and simple:

Breakfast (with repeats) Includes fruit and/ or veggie:
Eggs and ham

Lunch (with repeats) includes fruit and/ or veggie:
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Turkey Sandwiches
Salad with Olives and Feta cheese and shredded chicken
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Fresh Fruit
Veggies in ranch dip
Chips and Salsa
Cheese cubes
Hummus and pita
Cookies (if I can motivate myself to bake)
Pumpkin Pie (N has been asking me to let him bake one for two weeks - Maybe this week)

Broccoli Cheese Soup and green salad

Turkey Meatloaf with sauteed sweet potatoes and green salad

Roasted Chicken with acorn squash and broccoli

Chicken Noodle Soup (crock pot)

Pan fried Tilapia in a wrap with lettuce, cheese and Chipotle mayo with fruit

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Decorating on a Budget - a peek into our house

As I've mentioned before, we moved a few months ago and are currently living in a really cute, but very small rent house. This house is less than half the size of our last house and consequently, most of our things are in storage, including all of our home decor items. Since we were planning to only stay here for a short time, we brought only the bare necessities and it almost felt like we were camping - really (check out the chairs in the living room to see what I mean)! Especially since we did not decorate with curtains or table decor when we moved in.

Over the last few months, this has begun to bother me - I needed this house to feel like home, but didn't want to waste money on decorating a place we would not stay in for more than a year or so. Since we left all of the curtains for the new owner of our last home we didn't have any of that in storage. I made it a mission to make the house feel like home while spending less than $100. I found most of the items at Big Lots. I got window sheers for $5 each, tension rods for $1 each, a table cloth and place mats for less than $14, a throw pillow for $8 and a mantle decoration that says "Home" for $10. I used other things that we already had, like a lamp, pictures and such to fill around the edges. So for about $60 (which I know I could have spent elsewhere - decorating was NOT necessary, but it has been good for my state of mind) we made this place feel like home and not just a some place to sleep. Worth it to me! Here are some pictures:

You can see the "home' decoration, the sheers and the throw pillow in this shot.

The sitting/ reading area (magazines in the basket).

Close up of the mantle.

Dining area, complete with homeschooling stuff everywhere, which adds to the "home" feeling.

It is definitely not completely decorated, by any means, but it is good enough for us and gives the place a soft, homey feeling which is what we were after. And the best part, I think, is that the items we bought will most likely be able to be incorporated to the decor of any house we end up buying and if not, can be sold at a garage sale for close to what we paid for it. We are planning to stay here for at least 6 months, maybe longer, so I will probably add little bits here and there and maybe add things to the walls (besides just the world map for school, lol). In fact, I love this idea and think that maybe even I could make it.

This post is my contribution this week to Works For Me Wednesday.

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

Five Minutes for Mom

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Garden Update - September 3, 2009

My little garden is in transition. Since the weather has become more mild, some of the summer veggie plants have rebounded and begun producing again. In addition, some of the fall plant seeds have been sown and are germinating.

This week, I've harvested one lemon (our first!!), two small "pear" tomatoes and a bunch of basil that I am currently drying.

We've planted lettuce seeds and now have 14 lettuce plants that are all about 2.5 inches tall and growing every day. We've also planted 32 carrots and most of them have germinated and are growing nicely. In addition, we planted 17 spinach plants, 8 beets, two cabbages and 2 parsley plants that have yet to germinate, (though I only planted these on Monday). Most of these are planted in the two moveable raised garden beds that my Dad has made for us.

He also gave us a bunch of compost he made with organic materials from his garden. We are using it to add to the soil of all of the containers in the garden to feed the plants. Having the raised beds on wheels is helpful in moving them around to maximize sunlight. There is no one spot in our yard that gets more than a few hours of sunlight a day, but if we move the plants twice a day (once right at sunrise and once at lunch time), we can arrange for them to get 8 hours of full sun. Rolling beds make that chore much easier, and thus make it more likely that we'll do it.

Still left to plant for the fall garden are onions, garlic, one or two broccoli plants (N, our oldest wants to grow these himself - it is his favorite veggie) and potatoes. Plus if we can find the space for them, I'd like to grow some kale and chard and more beets and cabbage.

I love to read about other's gardens, so if you have a post with an update, leave a link in the comments and I'll check it out. Thanks :o)