Menu Planning…. Simply done!

OK.  I used to be on the band wagon for menu planning, then life got too hectic!  Children’s lives became so crazy…. I became a substitute teacher for our local seminary and have the potential to be gone on any given day of the week when needed.  Can you say Dominoes on Speed Dial!  Yah, not a good thing for tight budgets!!  Speaking of budgets, ours had became so tight that this past year, we have only shopped for mere basics!  A family of 9 on $100 a week–which includes 9 gallons of milk each week!!

Yah, It has been rough!  I knew there had to be a better way to make it all work!

 

Then, one day, I decided that I had had enough!  I needed something that was going to help us keep the chaos out of dinner time, and help us with the grocery budget.  I was tired of buying something only to come home to find out I already had that, or that I forgot what I needed.  I was tired of buying the basics, only to come home and still really having nothing to prepare for meals!  Getting called in to substitute early of the morning and getting home late with no ideas of what to do for dinner!   I would look at meal planning on the internet and what everyone did, and it just sent me for a loop!  For some reason it wasn’t clicking for me!  I wanted to be able to use my own recipes, since I have quite a collection of them, and I know what works for my family.  So, having said that,  I will NOT be posting all my recipes!  I might have a few on this site you’re welcome to brouse, but use what you have and what your family loves!  Print off those Pinterest recipes and start filing them with your recipes where you can see them!

 

After much praying for divine assistance, I finally had a thought come to me on how to do this!  I can not take credit for this idea.  I know that it was a direct answer to my prayer from a loving Heavenly Father who cared enough to help me with my situation!

 

The idea was so simple!  (That’s why I know it was NOT my own idea)  In the past I have had a different category for each day of the week — the idea came from “The Food Nanny.”  In the past it did work well…. but for some reason I had just fallen off the menu planning bandwagon!

  • Monday — Comfort foods
  • Tuesdays — Italian
  • Wednesdays — Soups/Sandwiches  (This is Young Men/Young Women’s night for our church and since I serve in the Young Women’s and am gone for the evening, I need something quick and easy!)
  • Thursdays–Spanish/Chinese
  • Fridays–Kids Favorite/Southern/Pizza
  • Saturdays — Leftover
  • Sundays — Traditional

Now this is where the divine help came!  On Sundays, we have our Family Counsel meeting.  We go over our schedules.  We then know which nights are more crazy then the others.  I can then go over the menus that I have and just pull the ones out that we want to use for the week.  I pull out breakfasts, dinners, AND desserts, if desired, for each day of the week!  I slip the recipes into my accordion file folder.  I have a slot labeled for each day of the week.  Take all the ones I want to use for Monday, and put them in the folder, etc!  When I am done using the recipes for the day, then I slip them back into my master recipe folders that I have!  I have lots of folders and the recipes I have just get put into those folders (These are just a few):

  • drinks
  • desserts
  • spanish
  • pies, etc.  You get the picture!

 

Tuesdays are my days for bills and shopping, since paydays are on Monday.  I can pull out  my recipes for the week, shop in my own pantry or freezer and see what I have.  List what I still need and then use that for my shopping list!  I have a pretty good estimate of what things cost, so then I can add up to see what will fit into my budget!

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This is my weekly menu folder. I just place the recipes we want to use for the week in its own day. Take them out when I am done and return them to the “Master file!”

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This is my “Master” file box. Whenever I have a recipe I like, I write or print it out and put it in a file!

It couldn’t be more simple!  I also try to utilize my kids and have them help!  They can know what we’re having for dinner and even assign a different child as dinner helper!  If they don’t like the dessert idea, they can substitute it as long as we have the ingredients on hand!

Hopefully this might give some help to those who might still be struggling with menu planning!

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Halloween 2016 — Disney Villains!

This Halloween was CRAZY!  I usually start back in July, since I hand make all the costumes…I am not joking when I say I started three weeks ago!  I was so grateful that I was able to go “shopping” in my Halloween costume closet!  It really helped save me a lot.  One thing for certain… sewing a double sided cape…. Is just too much!  I don’t ever want to do that again…. EVER!  I had TWO!  I can’t tell you how many times I had to reload a bobbin!!  I will be forever grateful for all the people who donated material to the DI!  I am amazed at how much I was able to find there!  Sheets from Walmart work great also!  All things considering, I think we made it!!  Not sure if this will be our last year or not!  I hope you will all enjoy!

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Trying to smile nicely!

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Doing our crazy pose!

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The wicked, evil Prince John!

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Hades…. straight from the underworld!

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Miss DeVil

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Malificent trying to look evil!

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She is just too sweet… evil does not become her!

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Captin Hook’s sidekick Mr. Smee from the movie “Hook!”

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Doc Terminus from the old 1960s Pete’s Dragon!

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“Hook!”

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The wicked queen from Snow White!

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Jack Sparrow! I know… it was stretching to call him a villain… but I ran out of time!

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Me and my best friend! He is such a good sport!

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Costumes all off and arms around Daddy’s neck! Best photo ever!

Faux Wood Paneled Wall — Without the Wood!! Happy New Years!

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Up close view of the “woodless” wood paneled wall!

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Another shot…. it is really hard to get a good picture in this room. It is so bright with the sun coming through the window.

How about we go out in 2014 with a bang!!  Boy, howdy, when my dear husband realizes how I did this project, it just might really be a bang!  I told him that I painted a wall in my daughter’s room, just not quite, HOW, I painted said wall!  This was done in a super flash yesterday (I NEEDED to be done before Ed got home!) and I haven’t really dared look at it all that much since then.  But, this morning, with the sunlight coming through the window, I stood back, took a deep breath, and realized…. IT TURNED OUT TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!   I have wanted wood paneled walls on this wall for some time.  And with the cheap paneling, surely $40 to $50 is not too bad of a price for that type of project… but I have NO cash for projects right now, and my dear husband has NO time to help me out.  I searched and searched for any faux methods out there.  I have had this crazy little idea popping in and out of my head for some time now…. I thought surely there was some other individuals out there on the blog world who had thought of this crazy-fool idea!  But, to my searching, I can’t find ANYONE red-necked enough to have tried this idea!  What can I say, desperation is a great motivator!!   Well, enough with the words….My sister told us bloggers to dispense with too many words and get to the meat, so, dear Heidi, let me tell you how I did it….

DISCLAIMER… IF you try this on your walls…. I can not be held liable for ANYTHING…. Just sayin’!  Make sure you never want to change them, or at least if you do, you consider re-mudding, paneling, or wallpaper as a cover up option.  Are you scared yet?  You should be!!

I was too scared during the process to take any pictures… sorry!  I started by marking off every six inches top and bottom.  I had my two boys help me with the chalk line.  We chalked every six inches down the wall.  I then took a 4-ft level, and a sharp nail…. yah…scary part.  Then I scored the wall down those chalk lines.  After a few deep breaths, I finally got comfortable with it.  A big mistake was scoring it too much…. you only want to run your nail over it once or twice.  Just barely make a line.  You can see some places that are darker than others… I got a little carried away with the scoring.  After it was all scored, I took a glazing liquid that I have had for years, black in color, and I mixed it with some water.  I took a rag and dipped it into the glaze and spread it over the walls… remembering to work in small sections at a time.  Let it sit for about three to five minutes, then came back over it with a wet clean rag…I found that I needed to rinse my rag out quite frequently to avoid too much glazing being spread around.  I also found that wiping it from side to side, rather than top to bottom worked best to settle it into the grooves.  It left the glaze right in those little scored grooves.  I intentionally left a small amount of the glazing all over the wall. It seems to give it an antiqued wood paneled look.   CAM00964

I wish the pictures were better, because they really don’t give it justice, but, not to shabby for a red neck!!!

Leftover Turkey Idea — BRILLIANT!

I am sorry for the poor pictures… I am sorry that this post is about two weeks late…. better late than never (which is really becoming the motto at our place lately!)  This one is just too good to not post.

Maybe some of you will eat a turkey for Christmas… if so you have to try this out.  For years, I have always had leftover turkey.  We try sandwiches, and all types of things.  Usually the turkey is completely dried out and quite frankly, I sit and wonder how a bird can taste so good on one day and be completely gross the next time around, and the third and fourth time around!  That, my friends, is a thing of the past!!!  I have my wonderful neighbor to thank for this fantastic idea.

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Sorry for the shadow… I was doing good to snap this photo!

While you are cleaning up your Thanksgiving dinner, and trying to find containers to put all your leftovers in, try this:  Dice your turkey into small cubes and put it in the bottom of a large baking dish.  We had leftover carrots, so I cut those up into small pieces as well, and layered them over the turkey.  Then I took my leftover gravy and poured it over the top of the turkey and the carrots.  ( You could really add just about any vegetable that you had in with this.)  Then, I took all my leftover potatoes, and scooped them on the top of the gravy… Ah Haa… you see where we are going with this, don’t ya?  Shepherds pie idea isn’t it?!?!?!  I then put tin foil over the top, threw it into the refrigerator.  The next day when we wanted dinner, I took it out, placed it in the oven for a little while, and we totally had another Thanksgiving dinner all in one!  It was DELICIOUS!!!  In fact, it fed my family of nine TWICE!  Once on Friday and then again on Sunday after church!!!  Not one person complained!  The turkey never once dried out!  They lapped it up so fast, I was doing good to get these few pictures!!!  I can’t wait to cook another turkey again….. Leftovers will never be the same! CAM00793

Halloween 2014 — Great Disney Duos!

Well… the time has come.  I have been sewing and searching the second hand stores for a month or more…. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t have to sew something!  My poor machine needs a much needed rest!  But here we all are!  Another fun year!

You know, many people ask me, and I have to admit, I ask my self…. “WHY!”  It is only one night!  Why go to all this extreme?  Well, this is our 5th year of choosing a family theme.  For our family, we do not get the luxury of going on vacation.  We do not participate in sports… my oldest just started swimming about a month ago, and that has been it!  I can’t even put my kids in music lessons….However, I wanted to do SOMETHING that my kids would be able to look back on and remember throughout their lives!  We vote early in the year and we buy a little here and a little there.  We do these as cheaply as we possibly can.  I told my children that this might be the last year, and my oldest son about had a fit!  He insisted that I continue to do it until he leaves for his mission!  Since that is only two more Halloweens away, I think I can keep it up for a little longer!

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Mary Poppins and Bert! This took a fair amount of time, but it was so worth it in the end! I have had people that I know that didn’t even recognize me! I will see if I can get a tutorial up here soon!

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My pirate! Sadly, she thinks it is not as cool as it used to be to dress up with everyone!

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Tonto and the Lone Ranger. This one took some doing because I was using material I already had on hand. His shirt is quite literally pieced together so have enough material to fit him! Thank goodness for embellishments! Tonto had to be modest….AND warm!! The mask was super easy and super fun! We made it ourselves and I will get a tutorial out soon so you can make your own form-fitted mask! We had purchased one from the store, but we opted to use our own…. it was more comfortable to wear!

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Since there are nine in our family…. we had to have a trio in there somewhere…..ENTER the Three Musketeers! This was super easy to do. I wanted to find bigger feathers, but I ran out of time, energy, and funds! We were trying so hard to keep within a budget and to use what we had on hand and from previous years.

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Little Tinkerbell! Hated it at first but by the second night, she was trying to dress her self!

Thanks for reading!  I will try my hardest to get some tutorials out if anyone is interested!  Thanks for reading and happy Halloween!  Only 365 more days until 2015!  What are YOU going to be???

Breakfast Biscuits with a Twist!

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My son has been taking early morning Driver’s Ed for the past five weeks. In order to make his busy schedule, we have been eating hot oatmeal every week day. One day, I could take NO more MUSH!! We finally had a morning where someone didn’t need to be somewhere by 6:15 a.m. I decided it was time for something different! I’ve heard of people taking refrigerated biscuits and trying something with cinnamon and sweetened condensed milk. I didn’t have any of that stuff, but I have my biscuit recipe, which I love.

I simply doubled my recipe. I took a muffin tin and put a drop of butter in the bottom of each one. I divided the dough into twenty four dough balls, (a normal batch would only make twelve) then I divided each ball into three more small balls. I took each little ball and dipped it in cinnamon sugar (the other set, I dipped in hot cocoa drink powder mix).  Each muffin got three little dough balls.  I then put a little bit of butter on the top of each biscuit muffin. I baked them in the oven at 375 for about 17 minutes or so. When they came out, I drizzled sweetened condensed milk all over the top of them…. They did NOT last long at our place!

I had children thanking me right and left….. not only where they happy to not have to eat another bowl of mush, but they absolutely loved this new breakfast twist!

Cinnamon Chip Swirl Bread

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OK!  I have been wanting some cinnamon bread since a neighbor of mine brought some over to me a couple of weeks ago.  I have to admit, it is a HUGE addiction for me!  There’s just something about hot cinnamon bread!   Mmmmmm!

Today I wanted to try it out.  So I made my simple bread recipe today.  I divided my dough up into my five different loaves.  I gently flattened (just a little bit) each piece out (as though you were making cinnamon rolls or pizza).  I GENEROUSLY covered it with a cinnamon/sugar mixture.  I then added a handful of cinnamon chips on top of that–A while back, I found a bag at my local grocery store by the chocolate chips.  They were quite pricey, but I only used a handful, and since my children don’t care to eat them as candy, they have actually lasted a while.  I can probably get a few more batches out of it!!  I then folded, rolled, and shaped my bread loaves.  I baked it just as I did my regular bread and it came out HEAVENLY!  Spread a little butter on a hot slice of loaf and man o man!  Good stuff!  I gave a slice to the repair man who came to fix my dishwasher!  It was a thumbs up!

Let me know how you like it!