Monday, July 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Daddy is back to work issue!

Brian started a new job last Wednesday and won't be home until dinner time or a little after, so I really need to be on my menu plan game!  I have started a new weekly schedule that looks like this (subject to change):
Monday - Laundry
Tuesday - Garden and Crafts (Now it is more garden, this winter it will be more crafts.)
Wednesday - Office Day (That is when I will try to do the majority of my blogging, menu planning, school planning, budget work, etc)
Thursday - Kitchen Day (Baking Bread, making broth, batch cooking for snacks and breakfasts, deep cleaning in the kitchen, etc)
Friday - Town Day (When I run errands)
Saturday - Cleaning Day (We pick up daily, but this is when we'll vacuum, dust, do a little deep cleaning)
Sunday - Family Worship Day (We try to do as little "work" as possible:-) )

Soooooo, all that to say I am trying to get more consistent on here!!  You will know if it helps if you see my posts get more frequent:-)

MENU PLAN July 30 - August 5

Monday: Macaroni and Cheese, Peas
Tuesday: Stuffed Eggs: Scrambled Eggs with sausage, ham, onion, green pepper, spinach, carrots
Wednesday: Chicken Pineapple Salad
Thursday: Hamburgers, Buns, Creamed Corn, Baby Carrots, Celery sticks
Friday: Fish Sticks, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes
Saturday: Hamburgers and Hot Dogs (Kids' Birthday Party!!) Cupcakes, Lots of fresh kid friendly fruits and veggies
Sunday: Crock Pot Chicken with potatoes, carrots, celery, onion

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When everyone's sick

I've been reading a book called Large Family Logistics.  It is GREAT!  I will have to get my own copy.  I think the author left out one chapter though: What to do when everyone is sick.  It needs to keep track of who had what symptoms when, who had what medicine when, how to deal with grace when your kiddos are out of sorts.  Definitely need to add that chapter to this book!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mommy's sick but has promises to keep

Don't those look yummy?  My mil brought home muffins from work, but didn't know what they were made with so we couldn't give them to our 3yo.  He was VERY disappointed, so mommy promised to make him some muffins.  Yesterday was town day so I bought the blueberries.  Then this morning I woke up feeling miserable.  I'm achy and stuffed up and tired and bleck, yup I caught what everyone else had last week:-P  However, I knew if I didn't make the muffins today I would never do it, the blueberries would go bad and I'd feel like a terrible mommy.  So I did a quick search and found this recipe.  I used regular sugar and brown sugar, but substituted all spice instead of cinnamon in the topping.  DELICIOUS!!  Normally I would look for a more whole food version or substitute Splenda instead of sugar, but I wasn't in the mood this morning and I needed to get started on it before I lost my resolve.  It was a good thing too.  I sat all morning after breakfast, made lunch, cleaned up lunch and slept all afternoon in the recliner.  

Another recipe I've been using while sick is this one for a cold remedy.  As a nursing mommy I get nervous about what medications I take and most of it doesn't work well for me anyway (knocks me out and renders me more useless to my family!)  I did not have any cayenne (we don't do spicy around here) and I just have the regular old supermarket kind of Cider Vinegar, but I think it cuts through the gunk in my throat and the honey definitely soothes my throat.  I will warn you...I didn't think it tasted that great.  My kids get a HUGE kick out of the faces I make when I down the stuff.  Though I think it still beats having to take Robitussin!

How do you cope when you are sick and the family still needs cared for?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Let's Get Organized!

I am trying to organize my life.  I am sure it will be a life long process:-)  I have read Managers of Their Homes and Large Family Logistics recently and I realize that everything I have read has the same basic ideas.  Fly Lady, Emilie Barnes, the Slob Sisters...They all have the same idea: Build a routine for your day, for your week, for the seasons.  WRITE IT DOWN somehow.  Then DO IT!  It doesn't matter if it is written on 3x5 cards, on color coded sticky notes, or on notebook paper in your Home Management Binder.

So that is my plan:-)  We actually have a few good routines in place.  Nap time is about 1pm.  Dinner is about 4:30.  Bedtime about 8pm.  We have recently started doing table chores with the boys after each meal.  So back to the drawing board for me!  I will be using MOTH to make a schedule for our family.  We need to have the basics in place (Up, dressed, breakfast, clean up, lunch, clean up, naps, dinner, clean up, and bed time) so that we can add in school the end of next month or the beginning of September!

Stay tuned as we get organized!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 7/16

Let me start by apologizing!  I missed Menu Plan Monday last week.  I had my menu planned, just didn't get it posted on here.  It was one crazy week.  Last Monday was our once a month shopping and cooking day, plus Brian's younger brother and kiddos camped in our backyard!   So I was feeding 7 kiddos 5 and under, and 5 adults for several days last week.  Throw in a doctor's appointment and our kids coming down with some sort of virus or something and you get more chaos than usual!

So Here's this week's  dinner plan:

Monday - Sweet potato and Black Bean Burgers  I cooked mine in a pan instead of in the oven and they were worth trying again (unless you ask Brian, but he just doesn't like sweet potato!)

Tuesday - Ham, Mashed Potatoes, wilted Cabbage or coleslaw (Gotta use up some cabbage!)

Wednesday - Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Thursday - Goulash (made with garden fresh tomatoes!)

Friday - Fish Sticks (I may change this to tuna salad so that I don't have to turn the oven on!)

Saturday - Zesty Pizza Rolls (originally a gluten free dairy free recipe, but I just use half whole wheat and half  white flour for the flour in the recipe)

Sunday - Crock pot Chicken

Monday, July 2, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I have decided to do a Menu Plan Monday series on here to focus my posts a bit.  This week I am going to talk about my general weekly menu plan that I use to offer us a variety in our dinners and also to help me focus my grocery shopping.  I used to do a more specific weekly menu plan: The Monday is Spaghetti plan from one of FLY Lady's friends The Dinner Diva.  I have varied and expanded that a bit lately.  So here it is!

Mondays: Meatless
Tuesdays: Pork or Breakfast for dinner
Wednesdays: Chicken
Thursdays: Beef
Fridays: Fish
Saturday: Pizza
Sunday: Crock Pot (for the Noon meal after church)

The hardest recipes for me are the Meatless ones.  We need lots of protein in this house and beans do not agree with us:-)

Right now I am prepping for our mega monthly shopping trip.  I am filling in these menus so I don't forget to plan anything.  I try to rotate a few simple breakfasts and snacks too.  Lunch is usually Leftovers for the adults and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids unless I have a leftover that I know they really enjoyed.  This month I want to plan side dishes a little better so that we are sure to get our veggies eaten.

How do you plan your meals?  Do you have a system?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Welcome to Carmichael

Mike couldn’t believe what was going on.  It was all too surreal.  Not quite a half hour ago Mike was a civilian saying good-bye to his parents, and now he is sitting in the commissary of the transport ship Orion having dinner and awaiting his first rank and assignment.  But since his first assignment is to be docking executive officer for one of the least reputed stations in the Fleet, he felt he could wait his whole life to fill that position.
            At least he has good company right now.  The Orion’s Commanding Officer Jerry Keells was hosting this fine meal for the two of them.  Physically, Commander Keells is a very large and intimidating man.  Yet despite his appearance he is actually a highly respected C.O. with a well-deserved reputation for running a very organized and efficient ship.  And above all else, he is greatly loved by his crew.

Yes, you've guessed it, for the rest of this exciting story please click here.  "Welcome to Carmichael" is the 3rd part of an excellent series entitled Cade, by Brian Holt.

If you do not have a Kindle, you can download a Kindle reader for your computer by clicking here.

Time to Choose

Exactly one month before his 19th birthday and Mike was hard at work in the garden.  Though the 20’ by 30’ piece of land wasn’t much, it was all he cared about right now.  He was so busy in fact, he didn’t notice the transport shuttle which flew overhead and landed on the pad in front of the house.  But then again this wasn’t an unfamiliar sight.  Recruiters came around regularly to demonstrate to Mike what he was missing.
            Just like every time before the recruiter (who was always male since Mike was a male and Fleet regulations prohibit mixed gender recruiting) would introduce himself to Mike’s parents Steve and Tasha.  He would then shower them with compliments about their home, then ask to see Mike.  Steve and Tasha would then lead him out to the garden and remain there listening to the recruiter’s obviously rehearsed speech.  They made no secret about the fact that they wanted Mike to “Do something with his life.”

You can read more by clicking on this link:  "Time to Choose" (Cade) By Brian Holt and illustrated by James Holt.

If you do not have a Kindle, you can download a Kindle reader to your computer by clicking here.

My Kindle Books (As of June 29)

As of June 29, 2012 I now have 3 books published through the Kindle Book store.

"Pegasus Responds"
"Time to Choose"
"Welcome to Carmichael"

These are the first three installments (respectively) in the Science Fiction/Action Adventure series called Cade.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Macaroni not cheese

Pinterest has been a life saver as I was getting bored with the foods I have been cooking.  My son and husband are both allergic to milk and I am not creative on my own in making up replacement recipes.  However I am more than willing to try other people's recipes:-)  Enter my recipe board!

We try to do a meatless Monday at our house, but we are a meat eating family and Monday is met with dread and growling stomachs regularly.  I was about to bypass tonight's meatless menu and make something more appealing (hot dogs anyone), but I went to my food board to look at the recipe again that I originally had planned: Gluten free Dairy Free Mac n cheese made with cashew cheese from Angela's kitchen.  I would be making it with regular macaroni rather than gluten free noodles.

While I was looking at my board I saw a recipe for an avocado sauce that I wanted to try too. AND we had 2 avocados in the fridge that needed used!  So I talked it over with my dearest husband and we decided to serve the sauces separate from the macaroni and let everyone choose their favorite.
The consensus was: Don't use old garlic in the avocado sauce it is way too over-powering:-)  I even used 2 avocados and 2 tablespoons of lime juice but left the other seasonings the same and it still was too overpowering!  I also added a Tablespoon of water because my sauce just wasn't getting creamy in the blender.  My sauce still doesn't look as good as the picture at Two Peas and Their Pod!  I wonder what kind of blender they have...

The cashew sauce was a hit, though it didn't taste very good to me, maybe because I ate the garlic avocado stuff first.  I didn't modify that recipe at all (except to use regular rather than gluten free pasta).  It looks like real macaroni and cheese, doesn't it?  And it wasn't grainy like other cashew sauces or milks I've tried.  Maybe the trick is blending the cashews to a powder first?

Does anyone else do a meatless Monday?  What kind of dishes do you serve?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Organizing Pinterest

I love Pinterest!  I have been using it to keep track of recipes, home school ideas, craft ideas, organizing ideas, prayer ideas, and the list goes on!  But I have run into a problem: My initial boards are no longer adequate for the VOLUME of things I have pinned!  So slowly I am adding new boards and moving pins around.  I will probably be changing my recipes board divide recipes by course, like you would in a recipe box.  OR Maybe I could put recipes on the recipe board until we have tried them and like them, then they could be added to the recipe box boards.  I need to do something similar with my craft board.  I am thinking of dividing it to boards titled "To do WITH the kids", "To do FOR the kids", and "General Mommy Therapy".

So how do you organize your Pinterest Boards?

Monday, June 18, 2012

In Case You've Missed It

Here is the list of my works that have been published:

"In The Beginning" Soon to be changed to "Pegasus Responds"  (1st in Cade series) [06/15/2012]

Here is the list of my works that are in progress:

"Time to Choose"  (2nd in Cade series)
"Orion to Stanson" (3rd in Cade series)
"Stanson to Carmichael" (4th in Cade Series)

"The Red Tiger" (1st in Kids' Series)
"Anteater's Nose" (2nd in Kids' Series)

"The Apartment" (Inspirational)

"The Hand of the Hill" (1st in Amrom Series)
"Dedication" (2nd in Amrom Series)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Battle of the Weeds

I love gardening .  I thought I was pretty good at it.  My garden the last two years looked like a giant weed patch and that was with LOTS of effort to pull and hack those stinking weeds out of the garden!  I wanted an English inspired kitchen garden, pretty yet functional.  With a fun garden on the side for the kids to destroy play in.  Instead I got this (and this is after I fought off a bunch of weeds!)

Yes, I know I have 4 kids under the age of 5, so it isn't as if I have all day everyday to work out in the weed patch!  And they aren't really old enough to be helpful, though the part of my garden this year with the fewest weeds is where the boys dig and last year every seed I planted didn't grow but every seed the boys helped plant did!


I am making my lasagna layers around my plants this year but hope to build lots of layers at the end of the season so I have a full on lasagna garden next year.  Here is the basic concept: Put down cardboard, newspaper, paper sacks on top of the weeds; then pile mulch: hay, leaves, grass clippings on top of that; add your kitchen scraps to the top of that and maybe some manure if you can get your hands on any.  Repeat the mulch, kitchen scraps and manure.

The first layer will block sun light from the weeds killing the suckers, the other layers will turn into some wonderful compost to hold in moisture and fertilize your plants.  It is supposed to be less work (little to no weeding) and larger yields.  We shall see.  At the very least all the mulching is allowing me to make some headway with the weeds.  Previously I'd work and work to pull weeds and by the time I finished the second row the first needed weeded again and there were still 10 more I never got weeded!

My garden is still in the process but I will keep you updated through out the season.  I have several little gardens within my big garden this year.  I am inspired by square foot gardening.

We over did it on the tomatoes this year.

There is even a three sisters patch within our garden.

 I'll post more about each of them throughout the summer!

So, how does your garden grow?

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Pegasus Responds"

            Captain’s Log (Supplemental):   We are about an hour away from the Cratian Space Station in Sector G.  There has yet to be any further description of this ‘black force’ that is attacking the station and causing communications breakdowns.  Whatever it is, we are sure that it is the same thing that has attacked the neighboring planets, causing so much destruction.
Unless instructed otherwise by Fleet Command, I plan to land a heavily armed strike team to investigate.  We will dock at Bay Orange and begin our investigation there.   But since we still don’t know what we are facing, we are taking every possible precaution.  I do NOT want to be caught off guard by this thing, whatever it is. 
On a more personal note, it is obvious that the crew understands the situation.  Aside from the rather somber feel to the atmosphere, everyone I’ve seen is wearing a gloove and is already heavily armed.  Though the butterflies have already started, I know they will all do their jobs and serve the Fleet with honor.

To read the rest of the story check it out here:  "Pegasus Responds" (Cade) By Brian Holt.

If you don't have a Kindle you can download a free Kindle reader for your computer here.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Welcome to Pins and Books!

Hi!  Thanks for stopping by our blog!  This is a combined effort between my husband and myself to share our interests.

Susie:  I will be posting the projects and inspiration I get from Pinterest as well as other sources in an effort to DO them and not just pin a bunch of things that I then feel guilty about never doing.  My pins vary from homeschool ideas to crafts to dairy free recipes that I can use with our growing family.

Brian:  My contribution shall be excerpts from my books.  Currently I am working on a science fiction series entitled Cade.  But I am also writing in other genres as well including inspirational, children's, and fantasy.  I hope you enjoy my work and I always welcome feedback.

This blog is meant to be Brian's first step to be able to write professionally.  We hope you enjoy it.