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Showing posts from November, 2011

Back to the Basics: A Few Book Reviews

Having visited Pennsylvania Dutch Country recently I have been on a big Amish novel kick.  While this infatuation of mine definitely stemmed from visiting the area I really do believe my continued love for these novels is the simplicity of life.  Now don't get me wrong, no one's life is simple, however there are so many endearing qualities of Amish life.  Lot's of family, nature, and quiet time.  Tons of home cooked food and fresh grown produce.  No wondering what to wear or how much gas will cost this week.  Yes they deal with having to hand wash everything, hand make everything, and the physical labor of growing their own crops - it's not candy land but it is just really gratifying to sink into that world of theirs and know that my heart yearns for many of their tightly held principles (obviously technology is not one of them).  Without further ado here are my reviews for the second and third books in the Rose Trilogy by Beverly Lewis.

The Judgment:

     In this…

The Pumpkin is Orange!

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This past week a very exciting thing happened in our garden: the pumpkin turned completely orange! And for that we are giving thansk - well for that and a whole plethora of other things!
.094 lbs
.42 lbs
9.937 lbs!

.03 lbs
.93 lbs
.72 lbs
1.06 lbs
3.84 lbs
A very blessed week at: 17.031 lbs!
Annual Total: 163.598 lbs

Thanksgiving Crafts

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In honor of Thanksgiving we watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving! Read plenty of Thanksgiving books. And did the following crafts.
We made handprint mayflowers and talked about the long voyage the pilgrims had.
We used pinecones from our Big Bear trip to make turkey's and talked about how it is a more recent tradition but a good one at that.
We use old toilet paper rolls to make corn cobs and talked about how hard it was to grow vegetables.
We also made this pilgrim hat out of a clay pot to adorn our table.
Lastly we made turkey handprints and talked about the things we were thankful for!

(For more detailed instructions google each craft and you will find several sources).

Thanksgiving Week Meal Plan

We are so blessed to be spending two separate days celebrating Thanksgiving this year and I am also continuing the training process at my old job (I am training someone else) so this week is a bit different than normal. At any rate we have some great food planned and are looking forward to lots of family time and the start of Christmas preparations!  Happy eating all!
Breakfasts:

Granola Bars, Applesauce, Eggs
English Muffin Sandwiches, Blueberries
English Muffin Sandwiches, Grapefruit
Muffins (flavor tbd), Oranges, Peanut Butter
Oatmeal with craisins, Juice
Omelets, Toast, Juice
Cinnamon Rolls, Juice

Lunches:

Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Carrots, Applesauce
Chicken Nuggets, Peas, Apples
Turkey Sandwiches! Cranberry Sauce, Green Bean Casserole
Quesadillas, Black Beans, Oranges
Hot Dogs, Mac N Cheese, Peas
Leftovers or Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Snacky foods before Thanksgiving

Dinners:

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Corn
Mexican Food with Family
Szechaun Chicken, Fried Rice, Veggies
Thanksgiving…

45 Mile Commute by Choice

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Two years ago today we moved our family 45 miles away from my husband's work and my parents and where no one we knew lived.  Yep we used to live about 3 miles from hubby's work and about 12 miles from my parents home then moved out to the cow farms (literally - we see one from our master bedroom and smell them every time we go outside).  What in the world would make us up and move so far away...LIFE and the dream to live it. Here are some of our reasons for moving 45 miles away: Desire for an actual house with a yard.  We knew in our hearts that the lifestyle we wanted for our family included outdoor playing and Christmas decorating.  We wanted a garden and streets to ride bikes on, we wanted a true single family home with neighbors more likely to grow old on our street than to rent out next year.  Sure it exists where we moved from but they are few and far between.Price.  We didn't want to be so strapped to make payments on our "home" that we couldn't actual…

Home Warming Foods Meal Plan

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As a family we spent this past weekend up in Big Bear Lake!  We had originally planned to hike, fish, and play outside in the sunshine - except they uncharacteristically had a huge storm last week and another inch and a half of snow this weekend!  We spent the weekend by the fire, building snowmen, going on toboggan rides, and occupying a very sick two year old!  Anywho the point of this is that the cold weather made us crave warmth and our meal plan this week proves it: almost everything involves the oven which inevitably warms the home...hoping it stays "cool" this week!

Breakfast:

granola bars, oatmeal, blueberriespancakes, pears, eggscarrot muffins, kiwi, peanut butterfrench toast, applescereal, fruitoatmeal w/craisins, milkeggs, toast, apples
Lunch:

egg salad sandwiches, carrots, blueberriespeanut butter sandwiches, graham crackers, pearstuna, crackers, cheese, grapes, carrotschicken nuggets, carrots, applesauceleftoverssalami, crackers, cheese, pearschicken quesadi…

Grocery Deals - Yes there are some GREAT deals right now!

With the holiday's fast approaching sales are finally becoming available.  By sales I mean stock up sales!!!!!!! Okay yes retail sales have been awesome too and I have scored some Christmas gifts for prices well under budget and that definitely makes me happy, but so does a full pantry!

Ralphs and Stater Brothers have the best sales this week so those are the ones listed below but I did want to point out that Albertsons's has Butterball turkey's Buy One Get One Free with a $25 purchase.

Ralphs Deals:
Foster Farms Bone in Chicken Meat - @ .97/lb = Stock Up PriceBroccoli or Cauliflower @ .88/lb = Stock Up PriceRoma Tomatoes @ .88/lb = Great PriceHansen's Apple Juice @ 1.99 = Great PriceRitz Crackers @ 1.99 = Great Price (coupons available)Hass Avocados @ 1.00 = Good Price BUY 10  SAVE $5
Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce @ .99 = Great Price (last year's low was .49)Annie's Mac N Cheese @ .69 = Excellent Price (Coupons available)Bumble Bee Light Tuna @ .69 = Great PriceDel…

When Your Dreams Change

Having worked with my dad these last two day's and experienced once again the concept of working outside the home I thought I would write a post on when dreams change.  Growing up I always wanted to be a mom, I also wanted to work in corporate America.  While attending college I struggled to figure out exactly what industry I wanted to work in. Low and behold I ended up working in insurance and loved it! However while in college I also met my soul mate and got married (best decision ever)! We decided together that when we had kids I would stay home with them.

     Along comes my first pregnancy and well we aren't quite ready for me to stop working, so for the first two year's of Big C's life I worked outside of the home.  I was very lucky to take her to work for the first year (but please believe me when I tell you it is extremely difficult!) and then my mom watched her while I worked not quite full time during the second year.  Shortly before little C was born I …

New Meal Plan + A Tip

This week will be a little different for us as I have an obligation early in the week that will keep busy for a couple of days and later in the week we have a little special plan for some extra family time (I will share more next week after our plan is complete)! Anyways we are super excited for all of this great food!
Each week I am now going to try and give you an tip on how to increase the benefits of your meal plan and hopefully to help your grocery budget shrink (unless you are already at the lowest possible point)!
TIP #1: My first tip meal planning tip is that you should really meal plan the whole week - any meals you eat including snacks.  Count out what you actually need (i.e. 5 plums, 2 heads of lettuce etc etc.).  Obviously you will have times when you cannot follow your exact plan but you should have things in  your pantry to get you through some hiccups.  Without a full meal plan you are either going to run out of food or throw spoiled food away and both would be a bumme…

Homemade Applesauce!

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Cheap apples at the stores this week - made me really wan to make this:
Homemade canned applesauce! I searched the Internet high and low and didn't find a recipe I liked so I took a whole bunch and combined them all!
Start by washing your apples!
Core and slice your apples. Then peel them.
Place peeled apples in a large dutch oven.
Add 1.5 cups of water.
 Add 1/2 cup brown sugar. (You could do sugar free but I used "sour" granny smith's)
Add 1 cinnamon stick - for a light cinnamon flavor. If you love cinnamon applesauce increase to 2-4.
Bring the water at the bottom to a boil over high heat. Then stir.
Cover and cook on medium heat for 30-35 minutes. Stirring every 15 minutes.
When they are done cool for a minute or two!
Puree with a stick blender stuck right into the pot.
Here is your end product!!!!!
Delicious Applesauce!
Recipe: 6.5 lbs of apples (at least two kinds - I used Granny Smith & Gala) 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 and 2/3 cups of water 1 cinnamon stick
Wa…

Garden Update!

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2.76 lbs of tomatoes/chilies.

1.125 lbs of tomatoes
.531 lbs of cucumber
.84 cherry tomatoes and Anaheim chilies
1.45 lbs of tomatillos
This week's total: 6.706 lbs
Annual Total: 146.567 lbs!!!!!!!!!!