Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Menu Planning

Not much has been going on around here lately. Sophia's eyes are continuing to improve and we're almost done with her drops. Russell's still doing fine with his blood pressure. He goes back to the cardiologist on April 4th (I got the date wrong in my last post). And needless to say, I don't really have many pics this week to entertain you with. So I thought I'd update you on our food struggles/victories.

To start with, what did I want to achieve? We wanted to have quality meals together as a family. I wanted to introduce Sophia to the idea of eating what we do instead of something special just for her. I wanted to save money and time. I mean who wants to go to the store more than once a week and waste so much food because it spoils before we eat it?

Since this is an area where we struggled initially, it feels really good to say that just about every night we sit down to dinner and eat the same thing (well, sometimes Sophia picks at it). But we always have dinner together even if we're not eating the same thing. Sometimes we have leftovers night and so we'll all be eating totally different things. So I thought I would let you know my process of meal planning. It works for me, but it may not work for everyone.

I started out with the whole idea of menu planning from this blog called Sister's Stuff. I tried to do it their way, but it just didn't work for us yet. Sophia was still too picky, so I realized instead of 30 of your top recipes, I'd pick 10 and repeat those.

I found a meal planner that I use to write down our menu for the week(usually on Wed. or Thurs. for the next week) here Menu Planner at I post it on the refrigerator.

From there, i make up my grocery list. I actually made an excel spreadsheet with everything we typically use from food to toiletries to cleaning supplies. And the best part is that it's in the order of our grocery store. So i can usually get all of my shopping done for the week in just 30 minutes. I wish I could post it but I can't figure out how to add a document. Anyone know? Leave me your email and I can email you a copy that you can edit for yourself.

As for recipes, I have a notebook (of course I have a notebook), that I have divided into sections.

The first section is the recipes I'm using for the week, so during the week I don't have to hunt for them. They're all in one place.

The second section is breakfast recipes I LOVE. Not ones that I haven't tried or just kinda liked.

The third section is a collection of my VERY FAVORITE recipes. I'm not sure how many I have in there. If I just kinda like it, I either toss it or put it into my master recipe collection notebook (yes, I have another notebook, actually 2, that contain ALL of my recipes that I kinda liked or wanted to try and it has all my favorite ones too. It has it all).

The fourth section is the collection of the 10 or so recipes we constantly repeat during the week. I'll be adding to that section as I've introduced Sophia to it and she LOVES it too.

The fifth section contains side dishes.

And then I have a completely separate notebook that I keep recipes I want to try in. Like for example there are some from the Pioneer Woman cookbook that I want to try. So I made a copy of it and put it in that section. That way I don't forget about it. If it's in a cookbook, I forget about them. If it's a recipe from the Sunday ads. I make a copy and put the original in my master recipe notebook.

So here's my menu for next week:
Saturday: Zesty Chicken Pot Pie (a new one for us. I'm on the search for the perfect chicken pot pie recipe, The Pioneer Woman's is pretty good.)

Sunday: Can't Miss Red Snapper (a new one, I'm substituting Tilapia we have in the freezer)

Monday: Sandwiches (for Sophia, she gets a grilled cheese and Russell and I add turkey or ham to it, but they're warm sandwiches)

Tuesday: Quesadillas (I saute those pre-cooked grilled chicken slices in the refrigerated meat section, onion, cilantro and tomatoes for the grown ups, Sophia gets just cheese. I use olive oil for all the sauteing and cooking the tortillas), black beans

Wednesday: Omelets (I use ham, green onions, mushrooms and tomatoes for the grown ups and Sophia just gets cheese), toast

Thursday: Bobby's Lighter Baked Spaghetti (a new one, but Sophia loves pasta so i just rotate through any of my pasta recipes for Pasta Night, I'm substituting ground beef instead of the sausage)

Friday: Chicken Pizza Primavera (really good! For Sophia I just make her a cheese pizza using the same process but I just use an 8 oz jar of tomato sauce and cheese)

In the weekends, I usually try to cook recipes that take longer or that are new. Sophia still gets served the same thing but I always give her at least one thing I know she'll eat with it like toast or applesauce. And trust me, at 36 pounds, she's not starving.

I recently discovered Paula Deen's website and she has a ton of tasty recipes. She even has a whole section devoted to lighter cooking....believe it or not.

So what do y'all do to plan your meals? Where do you get your recipes from? Any tips or websites you use are greatly appreciated!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Camera Bag

I saw these great camera bags over at Tatertots and Jello. For posting this on my blog I get an extra entry to win one. I love the Rose Moss bag.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weekend Update

As for Russell, he's doing fine. The blood pressure meds are working. He started out at 180/100 and now is down to 140/82. He was kinda mad cause I've been checking mine on our new contraption and every time it's super low, 110/72. But it's a good thing cause it's making us more aware of how we treat our bodies and what we put into them. He goes back to the cardiologist on April 2nd.

As for Sophia, she's got pink eye. You can call it conjunctivitis to make it sound better. But in the end, it's still pink eye. It was weird because, we noticed some flakies in her lashes on Thurs. but didn't really think much of it because she's been experiencing allergy problems. But on Fri I got a call from Ms. Melanie saying that her eye looked more red and more flakies. I made a dr. appt for 2:20, left my class with the PE teachers and ran to get her in before the weekend. When I arrived, I thought for sure it was just allergies because it just didn't seem mucousy enough. Of course, I've never seen the beginning stages of pink eye. Just the full blown cases that show up at my school. So when we got to the dr., I felt sure Dr. R would tell me that it was just allergies. WRONG!! But now she's on drops, which are a pain by the way. So we basically did our grocery shopping (Sophia and I). But we've tried to keep her quarantined. She missed a birthday party tonight. :(  We're washing our hands like crazy and washing her bedding, towels, wash cloths, and trying to sanitize all her toys. FUN!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gone Fishin'

Today, we took Sophia fishing for the first time down at our community lake. She was super excited to get to use her new princess rod and reel. And this is the outfit she picked out to wear. The only thing that she didn't originally pick out were the boots. She wanted to wear her new light pink boots from Gymboree that I convinced her would get dirty and luckily she switched to the polka dot rain boots. Close one!

She was also super excited about using her new princess chair.

Houston! We have a problem! Not long into the trip, Sophia began having problems with her rod. Russell tried to fix it.

It didn't seem to dampen her spirits.

But I could tell there were real/reel problems going on (pun intended).

Sophia just ran around our "camp".

And Sophia's favorite feature of her new chair....a drink holder.

So while Russell continued to work on her rod, she used one of his.

Russell finally gave up and gave Sophia the bad news. Her rod wasn't working and she couldn't use it.


Not happy!!!!

And scene: Upset 2.5 year old dramatically sits in her new princess chair while sticking out her lower lip. The irony not lost on her mama/paparazzi.

She eventually got over it and went to see if her daddy needed a snack.

Then she found  the rocks!

 And had a ton of fun throwing rocks.

And for the quote of the day. We tell Sophia that daddy caught a fish. Come and see it. She says, "I'm not hungry". HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
But she wasn't scared of it and did not want daddy to throw it back. But because it took her so long to get down to the fish, we needed to throw him back in so he wouldn't die.

We knew it was time to go home when she said, "mama, I'm tired". And I'm happy to report no sunburn for any of us.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Night At The Herron's...Again

My sister Robin invited Sophia and Jack over for a slumber party Wednesday night. So off we headed to the Herron's after PK.  When I dropped her off, there were no tears and she just waved good-bye. It made me very proud of her. I left Robin my camera so she could take some pics of their party.

Sophia was a big fan of the skateboard and the scooter. Must have been the influence of her best buddy Atticus.

Then they had a pizza party!

Then more play.

Big Bunny even took a few spins on the skateboard.

Then, they had an ice cream party.

Then more play.

Then they had a secret meeting.

When I came to pick her up in the morning, she couldn't wait to show me the pics Aunt Robin took. And then managed to hijack my camera. Here are a few of her pics. I love seeing things from a 2.5 year olds perspective.

Then we headed to Chili's to eat lunch with Nana and Paw-Paw. Then, we headed back to Nana's work to see their new office (and so she could show off her grandkids).

Nana is so sweet! She made each of the grandkids a special St. Patty's treat bag.

And then the kids really took over.

They were mesmerized by Nana's screensaver slide show. Sophia couldn't wait to see pics of herself.

Sophia got a little impatient with so many pics that had nothing to do with her.

This is her saying, "where are the pictures of me?".

Thanks for taking such good care of Sophia Aunt Robin. You will be a hard act to follow with the slumber parties. And thanks for lunch Nana and Paw-Paw. We enjoyed bringing our circus to town. :)