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Pregnancy: Week 33 and other things…

I forgot to post this Tuesday. Sorry about that. I got my handy dandy desk calendar and then started nesting. lol I spent all of Tuesday working on next years meal plan. I’m happy to say by the end of the day I got all of 2013 meals planned out!! I’m so excited to know that for the next year I don’t have to think about what we are going to have for supper or any other meal. Yes, I know that ‘s a bit freakish, but I need something to do when I’m nesting these days. lol Have questions about how I do this? Feel free to ask. It’s actually very easy and doesn’t take much time at all. I’ve also blogged about it here and here.

Yesterday was very busy. I had an appointment an hour away from home and spent the whole time crying there, then cried most of the way home. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the mood to put on my happy face and help get the kids ready for Trick-or-Treating. We went to visit some family on our way to town and then stopped by a nursing home for our first bit of treat-or-treating. The kids were so well behaved and the time was so enjoyable that I forgot all about my bad morning.

We were out for about 3 1/2 hours trick-or-treating and then went to Pizza Hut to end the evening. A tradition we started a few years back when we got involved in the Book-It program. For those of you who may not know what that is, it’s a reading program and kids from k-6th get a certificate for a personal pizza each month for reading. It use to only be available to public schools but now homeschoolers get in on it too!

So anyway, we had supper and enjoyed a peaceful time at Pizza Hut laughing and talking about the night. I was so proud of the kids. We didn’t have one problem while there and even had a table of people comment on how well behaved they were.

As for baby. Baby is still growing and moving all the time. I’ve been having more contractions and more intense ones this past week. Nothing to be alarmed about but still there non-the-less. I guess that’s all I got for ya. Kids are waking up so I better get going too.

Here are a few pictures of the kids before we left home for the night. Have a good rest of the week!

Mara

Adrian

Garrett

Emry

Kurtis

Wyatt

Tirzah

Shamus

Meal Planning for a Large Family

I have tried many things over the years to make meal time easier. I have planned a day at a time, a week at a time, a month at a time, and even several months at a time. I have tried plan charts, colored charts, and charts with bells and whistles, but what I have found works best for us is a simple large desk calendar.

I have tried to find out what other people do and it seems most families only eat once a day, supper. haha  What about us families how eat three meals and a snack every. single. day? I tried many different calendars and planners but nothing was ever big enough to fit all I needed to write and also be legible.

One day I was looking for a large calendar that would work for our day-to-day life and I came across a desk calendar. It was love at first sight! really! With so many of us and all the different stuff going on I needed a large enough calendar which gave me plenty of space on EACH day of the week to write everything down. Then it dawned on me, this would also be perfect for meal planning. I will never go back to those small calendars and hand planners. It may seem a bit much for some families but for us it’s perfect. Lots of space, nothing fancy, and all I need is a pencil and my cookbooks.

Once I get the new calendar that comes out in October I am able to start writing out the next years meals. I pretty much know now what we like to eat at certain times of the year so it’s pretty easy to fill in the blanks one month at a time. I’ve also written about how I decided to plan meals for a year at a time here and the best way to get started here. It does take some time to write it all down but I try to only take a month so it’s just done and I don’t have to think about it anymore. I also take into account days for trying new meals, holidays, soccer season, and other family gatherings.

This last year I got about half way done when I took a break from planning and never finished. I’ve been writing in each only as it comes but am hoping to get the rest of the year done so I just dont’ have to think about it anymore.

Our kids have really loved this as they always know what’s coming and even like to look at the coming months to see if their favorite meals will be coming up. A couple of days again, Kurtis looked at next month and asked Dean if we were going to starve in October. Turns out I hadn’t filled in that month yet and he seriously thought we weren’t going to be eating. Poor guy! I got next months meals planned out and let him know we will be eating every day next month. Here is a pic of next months meals.

What ways do you plan your meals?

Peach Tea

I was really excited to try this tea as my first experience with sweet tea was wonderful. It’s very simple, all you need is …

3 family size tea bags

1 1/2 cups sugar

and 2 pealed, depited, and chopped peaches.

First take three cups water and bring it to a boil. Put in the tea bags and steep for 15 minutes. I added the sugar at this time also so it could dissolve in the hot water.

In the mean time, peel and depit your peaches. Put the peaches and 1 cup of water into a food processor or some kind of blender and pulverize them until smooth. I do not have a good processor of any kind so my peaches stayed chunky. As you can tell in the picture.

Mix everything together and add enough water to equal one gallon. Chill and enjoy!

Results: Not bad. It would be fabulous tea without the chunks. Dean loved the tea so it won’t go to waste! Yay! I can’t wait to get a good food processor and try it again. Oh, and if you are not offically following my blog, you should…just sayin. 😀

White Chicken Enchiladas

I’m always looking for new meal ideas. When I came across this one I new I was going to love it, even without trying it! Boy was I right. This goes to the top of the supper menu for a while.

What you need:

10 soft shells (we used whole wheat)

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese (we used Colby Jack because it’s what we had in the house)

3 TBSP butter

3 TBSP flour

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup sour cream

1 (4oz) can diced green chilies

Make it:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan

2. Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Role up in tortillas and place in pan. (I waited to put them in the pan until the sauce was don,e and put a very thin layer on sauce in the pan. Keeps tortillas from sticking and burning their bottoms.)

3. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour. It will clump up right away so be ready with the 2 cups of broth and slowly whist in the broth until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.

4. Take of burner and chilies and sour cream. Do this slowly so the sour cream doesn’t curdle.

5. Add just a small amount of sauce to the bottom of the pan then place wrapped tortillas in pan. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.

6. Bake 22 minutes and then broil for 3 minutes to brown the cheese.

Please note that if I share your recipe without giving do credit, I apologize. I often can’t remember where I get my recipes from as I go through so many and have been collecting for many years. I will always credit you if I can. If you ever come across one of your recipes let me know and I’ll make sure to link to your site.

Bisquick Cinnamon Bun Pancakes

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes

The original picture of these pancakes looked fabulous! Meaning not the ones I made. Totally think they photo shopped it! No matter what I tried they didn’t come out looking fabulous by any means. However, they were delicious! The one thing I’ll do next time is use the cinnamon mixture as the syrup and not try to bake it in with the pancake itself. I got the recipe from tablespoon.com which is a wonderful site for all kinds of baking and meal ideas.

Results: Super yummy and will make them again, I’ll even share 🙂 Please forgive the blurry pictures. My good camera in on the frizts so I’ve been using my old camera which doesn’t always take very clear photos.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups Bisquick Complete

1 cup milk + 1 TBSP

2 eggs

4 TBSP melted butter

2/3 cups loosely packed brown sugar

1 TBSP vanilla

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whist together 2 cups of the Bisquick, 1 cup milk, and both eggs, until smooth. Set aside.

2. Preheat griddle to medium heat.

3. In a small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, the remaining Bisquick, and milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth. Here is where I change the original directions…

4. Set aside cinnamon mixture.

5. make up the pancakes as normal. I used a 1/3 cup for each pancake.

6. Serve warm with a spoon full of the cinnamon mixture instead of using syrup. Enjoy!

I Did It!

I finally got my meal plan done for the year! I have been working on getting a years worth of meals planned out for some time but always get stuck after 3 months. I have been able to get 3 months planned out before but would run out of meal ideas at that point.

I got the honor of meeting someone who plans out her meals yearly and has been doing this for years. I was so excited!! haha.  She told me her “secret” only to find out I was doing what she does already, only on a smaller scale. Here was the extra bit of info she gave me that helped me get the rest of my meal calendar filled out.

First, get a calendar you want to use for the year to map out your meals. (I use a big ol desk calendar.) Then, take about 15 meals that you know your kids like, or most of them like, and start plugging them in for each month. Yep, you will rotate these meals every month for the whole year.  I put them on for every other day. Then, find one of your cookbooks, that I’m guessing you never use, and tag every meal you would like to try. From the first page to that last. Don’t skip a page. Once you have all the meals marked, start plugging them into the open spots on your calendar.  Don’t forget to leave some days open for leftovers. How simple is that?! Now she only did this with suppers but I had to get a little more creative as I make 3 meals and a snack every single day. So…here is what I did after I got the suppers all mapped out.

To get the rest of the meals in order I started by making lists. I wrote down every kind of breakfast food I could think of, followed by snacks and lunches.  Then I plugged them into the calendar.  I was able to come up with enough of all 3 meals to not double up an any meal except for a couple of snacks and cereal for breakfast!  Every month is the same when it comes to breakfast, lunch, and snack.

When we have something new I ask the kids what they thought of it and make a note whither or not I will put the meal into next years meal plan or not.  I officially start the new menu next month.

I still plan on posting our weekly meals, (assuming I remember,) haha, and if there is ever a meal that sounds good, let me know and I’ll post the recipe.

Questions? Comments? I would love to hear from you!

$45 Meal Plan Update

I’m still in the copy and paste proccess of switching some of my blog posts over. Which explains why I’m giving the meal plan update a day later 🙂 I posted this April of last year but we still enjoy some of these meals….

This week has been going pretty good despite the fact that the kids are coming down with the flu.  The meals have been going over well and most of the kids have liked most of the meals. That’s pretty good around here!

Here are the meals we have enjoyed. Lentil & Vegetable Soup with Dumplings, Hoe Cakes, Creamed Tuna &Peas over Rice and Garlic Toast, Hot Rice in Milk. The kids thought the Savory Mixed Greens were ok, Dean and I like them and will make them again.

I didn’t follow the bread recipe she gives because I have my own recipe that we really enjoy, so I just stuck with that.  I also haven’t followed the breakfast and snacks much because we have stuff in the house that we need to get eaten. Like the massive amount of hard-boiled eggs from Easter and boxed cereal. I do plan to only get boxed cereal from WIC from now own and work on making more hot breakfasts. So much cheaper that way!