Tag Archives: food

ThankFULL

‘Twas a different Thanksgiving for us this year.  Mom and her Hubs stayed home in PA, sis and her family stayed put in Tally, my mother-in-law’s sister passed away last week and understandably they just weren’t up for anything and my step-dad and his family had his 1st wife and sister and boyfriend  in town (awkward and loud and weird).  so we stayed put.  and cooked.  and enjoyed dinner with my grandparents.  This is how the day went down:

The morning started out brisk at 37 DEGREES!!!! and warmed up to the 60’s.

Macy’s day parade on for our viewing pleasure whilst cooking the bird and organizing the side dishes.  (for me, I don’t get all crazy so it’s not the cooking but the TIMING of it all that makes me a little wired, and somehow it always works out even though I’m not sure HOW….but it does).

Finished up the Christmas cards (ready to mail tomorrow, don’t hate, but I truly can’t wrap my head around Christmas shopping until this is done.  it’s the way I am and I’m ok with that).  Sadly, I ran out of labels and had to hand write 1/2 of my cards!  However, if my friend who sends at least TWICE what I send can do it, I’ll zip it…but those labels???  They are on the grocery list; THAT won’t happen again!

IMG_5755

A little bike ride with our youngest around the ‘hood left me wishing I wore my gloves.  I’m a baby, I know.  Blame it on my thin Florida blood.

Appetizers at 1.  Mountain Dew, it’s what the 16 year old brings home when you send him for drinks and Triscuits.

who knew the goat cheese and cranberry would be such a hit?

who knew the goat cheese and cranberry would be such a hit?

Dinner 1:30 ish.

I guess I didn't need the WHOLE 5 lb bag of potatoes....

I guess I didn’t need the WHOLE 5 lb bag of potatoes….

The kids opted to eat outside

The kids opted to eat outside and so did the cat, thankfully.

we use these dishes ALL month long!!

we use these dishes ALL month long!!

Caramel got his first turkey ever.  loved it.

Caramel got his first turkey ever. loved it.

 

Pie 3 ish with a little fire pit action.

Shower and PJs by 5:30.  Is that so wrong?  It sure didn’t feel like it!!  Then……

Ordered my Free Shutterfly calendar for 2014 (use FREECAL as the promo code until Monday.  I think.  not sure.)

Ordered Nutcracker tickets for the girls and I for our annual ballet and cupcake fix.

Washed fire pit clothes.

Blogged.

Read.

Slept.

How was YOUR Thanksgiving?  Hopefully blessed!!

 

 

Grocery game

Today I received a text regarding how much I spend a week on groceries.  Always an interesting discussion, to me.  I am infinitely curious as to what people spend at the grocery store.  It’s a barometer of where we are as a family (am I blowing too much on x, y and z?), but also a GREAT way to get tips and such.

I have friends who can coupon like the TLC show (in my eyes), friends who once had a $1000 grocery budget FOR. THE. ENTIRE. SUMMER., friends who cook ahead and freeze and friends who just wing it.  It never gets old to me and so, once again, it was an interesting text conversation on groceries and I thought I’d share a few tips that help us and would LOVE to hear your tips.

  • We shop at Aldi.  We’ve comparison shopped and they are consistently lower than Publix and Walmart.  Downside:  they don’t always have everything I need on my list and they don’t take coupons since they sell their brand (aside from the surplus of various name brand items from time to time).
  • I plan our meals ahead for the week.  I don’t plan specific meals for specific days, but a menu of meals for the week.  I shop for the menu.
  • Our fruits and veggies come from Aldi and the produce store/farmer’s market.  We do have to replenish bananas mid-week (a family of monkeys, I tell you) and I buy the verrrrry ripe ones @ .29/lb and freeze them for smoothies.
  • Eating out is a rarity and a luxury.
  • It’s a dry house.  However, Aldi does have beer and wine—FYI.

Sadly, we don’t have a Costco close enough for regular grocery shopping (I hear they are the bomb diggety!), but we do have a Sam’s Club and a BJ’s.  When we get a stand alone freezer, we will stock up on meats there or possibly look into purchasing a 1/2 a cow or something like that.

We’ve tried to coupon, however, with both of us working full-time outside the house, we simply don’t have the time or energy to really work the system.

Our summer garden was awesome and we’re planning on doing a winter one as well.  (the perks of living in sunny Florida!), However, if I had a big ole garden like Mavis HERE….hooooooey…that’d be awesome!

Eating healthy is a mainstay in our house.  Not to say we don’t have junk around here, because we sure DO.  Meals however, are pretty healthy and we have a wide variety of healthy snacks for the kiddos to choose from…almonds, protein bars, popcorn, fruits, veggies, raisins, smoothies, nut butter.  We also have one who doesn’t seem to tolerate dairy well, so we’ve got almond milk in the house and some dairy free ice cream as well.

Bottom line, for our family of 6 (2 teen boys and 2 growing tween girls, a triathlete Papa and a Mama always in search of healthier choices) we average $200/week.

So, what are your tips, tricks and average spent on groceries each week.  This inquiring mind wants to know!!

Merry Christmas and all that comes with it!!

Santa and Mrs. Claus making a pre-run/last warning call on behavior...

Santa and Mrs. Claus making a pre-run/last warning call on behavior…

Wishing you a Merry and wonderful Christmas.  Winter white (Mid-ish West and Northeast) or rainy and dodging tornadoes (Southeast) or just lovely and balmy (our neck o’ the woods), may your day be lovely.

My Christmas present to you:

In your downtown and sugar induced coma I have some GREAT links to keep you busy and up your screen time….aaaaaaaafter you have sufficiently spent Quality time with the fam,K?  K.

First, you can check out all the Christmas decorations with Katie @ NFP and me.  I love checking out other people’s homes and decorations, super fun and done in my jammies.

Best PG view....with a "white" top it's just not really "general public" kind of viewing...ya know?

Best PG view….with a “white” top it’s just not really “general public” kind of viewing…ya know?

Second, you can check out all the Christmas fashion you can stand and then some with the lovely and very preggo (and ridiculously tiny) Grace @ Camp Patton, also done in the PJs if you’d like….

My 'fit....super similar to Sunday

My ‘fit….super similar to Sunday, ‘scuse the look…this was 1a.m….Mama’s done.

Except for the super awesome necklace my sis gave me last year....jelly??

Except for the super awesome necklace my sis gave me last year….jelly??

Orrrrrr, you can read MY recap…because it’s my blog, right?  😉

Christmas Eve:  Work until 3.  Quick “last minute stocking socks” and caffeine stop.  6 o’clock Mass with the family.

Making our way...like herding cats.

Making our way…like herding cats.

Then off to the brother’s casa to feed the grumbly in the tumbly….

Papa and the clown-boy

Papa and the clown-boy

Papa and almost as tall as him boy....

Papa and almost as tall as him boy….

Popop and his girls

Popop and his girls

Pensive and handsome in his new jacket...

Pensive and handsome in his new jacket…

 

Dinner @ brother’s with extended family.  Or is it dessert with a side of dinner?

My sugar jumps just looking at them again....is there such a thing as too much chocolate?  A question to ponder...

My sugar jumps just looking at them again….is there such a thing as too much chocolate? A question to ponder…

Back home to get kids set up for their annual “campout in brother’s room” and a movie and Christmas Eve present (new pillows and 3 new Christmas movies….I was told they had enough PJs….the usual gift!) and then back for Midnight Mass with our French horn player.

Midnight Mass roundup

Midnight Mass roundup

Stockings filled, Presents out. Bed @ 2 a.m.

Pretty....for a few short hours

Pretty….for a few short hours

Girl loves this "hamster vest"...

Girl loves this “hamster vest”…

 

Christmas Day:  Up at 6:30 a.m. with LOTS of coffee and present time and cinnamon buns, visit from the grands and walk around the ‘hood.  Now it’s chill time and then on to the In-laws for lunch.  I am officially breaking up with food (again) after today and if the weather keeps up I’m thinking a bonus walk around the ‘hood. Or some more Dance4….because I just whooped my girl at Rock Lobster…Please….years o’ practice…Mama don’t play.   Or a nap.  BCuz I am LOVE, LOVE, LOVING these cozy jams…

Can you feel the cozy awesomeNESS?!?!  Huh, can ya, can ya???

Can you feel the cozy awesomeNESS?!?! Huh, can ya, can ya???

 

Blessings abundant to you all!!  And be careful and don’t break your leg…like my Mom did last night.  Surgery today or tomorrow…keep those prayers comin’ ya’ll!!

It’s the end of the world/week…whatev…

Even though it’s Saturday, I figured I’d go ahead and jump in with Jen and her crew for the

— 1 —

Clearly the world didn’t end.  My son says they found another Mayan calendar dating to 3025.  I haven’t had time to research his claim, but clearly THAT explains it…or the whole Matthew 24:36  “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. “  Yes, apparently even the Mayans didn’t know…

— 2 —

I FINALLY watched Minor Revisions this week.  Episode 1 AND 2.  All in the same night.  The best part was that Hubby watched, also.  He NEVER watches TV.  Ever.  Thinks TV and Technology are the downfall of society.  Books are the best.  And yet….he watched.

— 3 —

Our youngest had yet ANOTHER round of strep this week.  Guess we’ll be paying a visit to the ENT this coming year.  Joy.

— 4 —

Our youngest son clearly jealous of his sickly sister, decided to pull a “complications from the flu 2 weeks ago” stint and develop an ear & sinus infection with diminished lung sounds the next day.  Translation:  not contagious, on antibiotics and an inhaler=much better.  Adding to the stress of finals week.

— 5 —

Mama’s spidey senses peaked on our son’s health the same night we were to go to our church’s reconciliation services.  Hubby took the rest of the gang whilst son and I trekked to the Pediatric After hours.  Translation:  He and I will make a visit to reconciliation this afternoon.

— 6 —

I am reaching my annual “officially OVER food” quota that generally accompanies December and the glut of goods brought into the office, luncheons and my desire to bake and share.  Perhaps Santa will bring me some willpower for Christmas.  Although Hubby did promise to “help me out” after Christmas…y ‘all pray for me and our marriage on that one, K?

— 7 —

On that last note, I am lacing up the kicks for a quick walk since we aren’t covered with snow in our area!!  And then off to Publix for our supplies for our (8th?) annual “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” luncheon with my grandparents!  More food.  And quality time.  So that surely balances, no?  Blessings!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wrapping it up! (or, I thought Friday would never get here!)

Friday and time to take a look at the week in review or “7 Quick takes with Conversion Diary’s Jennifer Fulwiler and friends“….

Since  my internet connection is down and I may or may not be mooching off a neighbor’s wireless with an extremely slow connection, I’ll make this brief (I hope), since I am procrastinating (as usual) and do need to start waking the kiddies for school shortly….

1.  The internet is down.  (see above)  Fortunately, Hubby worked from home all day yesterday with no problem, so apparently we lost connection sometime late in the afternoon.  Our phone is internet phone (Magic Jack), our TV is internet (Roku) and know what?  It didn’t make too much of a difference last night.  Now tonight…..I want to watch Downton Abbey with Hubby (our weekly date) so that AT&T dude better fix it up tonight!!!  or not….whatever…the longer it’s broke the bigger discount they will give us for next month; at least that’s the way it’s worked in the past.

2.  My favorite Pyrex pan (13X9) EXPLODED the other night with the kid’s FAVE new dinner in it.  URGH!!!  Note to self, no multitasking while butter is melting in the pan.  Apparently the butter was too hot when I took out the pan and the biscuits, though sitting at room temp for quite some time were too cold.  Well…..SHAZAM.  It was loud.  It was messy.  Fortunately, just a couple little cuts on my 2 fingers from cleaning up and my sweet daughter took a hit to the shin from the shrapnel (small cut, we didn’t even notice for an hour or so)…so it could have been much worse.   A trip to Publix for some comfort fried chicken, coleslaw and key lime pie….lesson learned!!

3.  Hubby and I have joined together in prayer and a united front to once and for all (I hope and pray, DEAR GOD HEAR OUR PRAYERS!!!) to break our youngest from her hideous bedtime drama routine.  she’s 8.  It’s so overdue.  After a long talk, a visual chart to mark progress, clear expectations and goal stated, I am pleased to report we are 4 nights in to success!  Fingers and toes crossed and prayers storming heaven!

4.  The weather has been PHENOMENAL all week long….though starting to warm up again.  So I have walked almost every day and today will get day 2 of strength training.  Shooting for 3, but I’m not going to whine about it, something is better than nothing!!!

5.  I have been spending far too much time with Stephanie Plum.  (Hubby is surely kicking himself for introducing us as she keeps me up far later than I should be at night!!)  She’s a train wreck and a clutz (I can really relate there!) and I am addicted.  However, once I finish book 10, I’m putting her away for a bit.  I’m starting to dream about the books in which I am solving the mystery and it’s really ruining it for me.  So….it’s time!

6.  Hubby has taken up our landscaping lumber around our little plant island in the front of the house (it was rotting) and replaced it with huge pavers his dad had lying around their house and it looks great!  I’ll post pics at some point.  probably.  maybe.  once the internet is up and running.

7.  Hubby’s tomatoes are growing!  YAY!  This weekend he’s adding cucumbers and I’m going to get some pots for a herb garden.  Summer is upon us!!!  I foresee lots of salad and salsa in our future…BRING IT!!

Happy weekend and be sure to check out lots of other recaps at Conversion Diary!!  Blessings!!

Comfort food for COLD days!

I love the crock pot.  Especially when it’s chilly outside.  Especially since we both work full-time.  Especially when you want dinner RIGHT when you get home!

Turkey taco chili:

1 pound ground turkey

1 package Taco seasoning

1 can Rotel tomatoes

2 cans Chili beans

2 cans Red Kidney beans

1 can Black beans (‘cuz I love ’em!!)

1/2 chopped onion

garlic…however, much you like…

Mix it in the crock pot.  Put it on low and let it go.  Serve over whole wheat penne or regular elbow macaroni…top with cheddar cheese and sour cream and delish!!!  Even our pickiest kids had seconds!

 

And in the morning if you run out of that old powdered hot chocolate mix and it’s cold outside…..takes a few extra minutes, but worth it!!

On the stovetop…..6-8 cups milk (we use fat free), 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup baking cocoa powder.  Mix until hot.  Serve with 2 big marshmallows or lots of small ones.  Didn’t even need to add sugar.

Happy day and stay warm!!

**I’ll be back with Goals in the next couple of days……

 

Friday….or the day before vacation starts!

— 1 —

It’s Friday, the end of a long week and the last day of work before I have a week of STAYCATION enjoying Christmas break with the kids, hubby and my sister and nephews…(Bro-in-law has to work—boooooo hissss)!

— 2 —

We had our parish priest over for dinner this week. We let the kids decide the menu:  Chicken Enchiladas.  They decided that all our priests and deacons should be served some sort of Mexican dish.  Taco stuffed shells, Tacos, now Enchiladas.  It was a hit. I think they just want an excuse for lots of cheese and sour cream.   It was a great dinner and plenty of entertainment provided by our two youngest who had the MOST to talk about and ask questions of our very gracious guest.  Dinner was followed by peach cobbler (yum) and the girl’s “performances”.  Lots of them.  Cheerleading tricks.  Complete with one sister (accidentally) dropping another on her head.  Magic tricks that weren’t quite magic.  and lots of “Father Chris, Father Chris…”  It was fun.  And it was funny.  Will have to have the conversation with the girls on hogging the priest next time…

— 3 —

I.  Finished.  Our.  Christmas.  Shopping.  (I think)….need to go to all my secret places and take stock and double-check that the boxes I received (hopefully safely after the whole FedEx and UPS videos lately, OY!!!…) from UPS contain what I ordered.  Otherwise….it’s going to get interesting.  I probably should do that tonight.  Just in case….

— 4 —

I.  Am.  Over.  Food.  After our pizza lunch today, I am certain that I am breaking up with food.  Or after our Christmas dinner tonight at my brother’s house.  Or after Christmas lunch.  Yes.  That will be when.  For sure.

— 5 —

I was able to get in THREE days of exercise this week.  Yup.  Sanity is somewhat intact, peeps.  My friend and I have even begun strategizing our post-Christmas workout plan in between coffee and cookie breaks.

— 6 —

Next week I am going to pretend to be a Stay-at-Home mom.  Which means I’m hitting the gym.  Or some kind of exercise all week-long.  And then I won’t be at home.  At all.  Because SAHM’s really DON’T stay home.  They are everywhere else, doing all kinds of errands.  I’m SO out of practice, but I feel up for the challenge!!

— 7 —

Tonight we build the gingerbread house.  Yes.  It is tradition.  And with onlyTWO. DAYS.  LEFT.  We are running out of time to complete our traditions!  YIKERS!!  Don’t worry, the tradition of mama (and now papa) staying up quite late with the finishing touches on Christmas Eve is sure to continue!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!