Friday, January 14, 2011

Taking on the Meal Planning monster... again

Meal Planning is my nemesis. It has been since long before we even had kids.  Somehow I thought being a stay-at-home mom would magically make it easier.  It didn't.  I've tried about 8 million times in the past to do a better job of meal planning, and have yet to stick with it.  However, to take Edison's view, I haven't failed, I've just found a thousand ways that don't work, right?

Part of my goal of being an organized family means meal planning, so I am taking on the meal planning monster one more time, and I swear this is going to be our last match.  I will take him down, take him down to Chinatown. :)

I am only planning dinners.  Breakfast & lunch is pretty easy here, so I am not planning those.  I've tried using Meals Matter in the past, but really having the plan on paper on the front of my fridge seems to work as well as anything.  I found this pad in the dollar bins at Michael's a while back, so I grabbed two.

They have a magnetic back and hang on the fridge.  I wrote my list on the side, but I re-wrote it on another piece to take it to the store, because I didn't want to rip off and lose my meal plan.

Here is this week's plan.  We're on Friday and so far it's been great.  I had to make one modification on Wed, but it still came off great.

Monday - Kid's eat free & $5.99 burger night at our local Champp's restaurant.  They're changing the deal at the end of this month, so I figured we'd better take advantage of it while we can.  Can't beat feeding a family of 4 for $17 including tip!

Tuesday - Cajun Seafood Pasta - this is mostly for my husband, as I have a seafood allergy.  The girls and I just eat regular old spaghetti and Mark takes the leftovers to work for a couple of days.  One time one of his friends asked him what restaurant he went to the night before when he saw the leftovers for this.  I felt proud.  You could easily sub all shrimp in the recipe, or even all chicken.  I do modify the directions and cook the seafood first vs. in the sauce.  You'd definitely want to do this if you use chicken.  I also add sauteed mushrooms, because in my book, everything is better with mushrooms.  :)

Wednesday - BBQ bone-in chicken leg quarters & mashed potatoes.

Thursday - Chicken Tortilla Soup - even the girls at it!  I love that Kate is finally eating soup!

Tonight - Bacon & Ham Quiche - I modified Paula Deen's Spinach & Bacon Quiche recipe, as I didn't have spinach, and couldn't bring myself to use a cup and a half of heavy cream.  I used 1 c fat-free half and half, and 1/2 c skim milk.  And I used a homemade pastry crust with part whole wheat pastry flour.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day...

We had a snow day yesterday.  The kids begged all morning to go out and play in it.  I really dislike taking the girls out to play in the snow, because Claire is too young to go out on her own and usually it takes at least 15 minutes to get them all ready to go out and then they only want to be out for 20 minutes.  But I sucked it up and took them out after lunch.  The lasted almost 45 minutes, and we definitely had lots of fun.  Nothing like a snowball "fight" with an almost 3 year old.  Here are a few highlights...

Claire refused to go down the slide so she just cleaned everything off. 

Close up of Kate before making her snow angel 

"The biggest snow angel ever, Mom!" 

 Claire just "hanging out" on the swingset

 Kate after making a huge pile of snow for all her snowballs.

Claire chasing me with a snowball - "I'm dunna det you Mama!"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Official Household Disney Countdown

The Louagie Household Official Disney Countdown has begun.  We are leaving 1 month from today (we check in 2 days before Claire turns 3, which makes her still FREE!  Yay!), and to avoid the continual "How long until Disney?" questions, we made a paper chain to count down.  We leave in the evening, so I put on 32 links, so the day they tear up the last one is the day we leave (since we're leaving in the evening). Plus, I used up some old scrapbook paper that was kicking around the basement.  As the chain shrinks, I'll move it down the wall (though both girls would probably love to climb up to the ceiling to get to the links).  Thanks to my friend Jennifer for the idea!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blog, Take 2 (or 3)

So... I am going to attempt to start this blog afresh.  I have set some goals for 2011 (I dislike using the term "resolutions"), and I am going to attempt to document my progress towards those goals here on the blog.  The goals are:

1) An organized home and family life

2) Efficient and effective time management

3) Become better at saying no (ties in to the time management goal above, but I feel it needs to be stated on it's own, because there is more to it than just time management)

4) Be an excellent steward of our family's money - beyond eliminating debt, this means saving when possible, but also spending when it makes sense.

I'm going to attempt to document the steps I'm taking and the progress I'm making in these areas here.

Here's my first bit of progress:

Our coat closet.  It is quite small and in addition to housing our coats it is basically the only possible place to store our vacuum and carpet steam cleaner on the first floor.  Before today, all of our mittens/hats/gloves/umbrellas/etc were all housed in one small bin on the shelf above the coats.  It was severely overstuffed and on Friday Kate's gloves fell out literally 5 times in a row when I tried to put them back in (after they fell out the first time when I was trying to get Claire's gloves out for preschool).  Here is my solution, which proves that I can have the occasional moment of organizational brilliance.  I'm sure plenty of other people have thought of this idea, but I was rather pleased with myself for coming up with this entirely on my own, if I do say so myself.

I bought the shoe organizer at Big Lots for $8, which included hooks.  I had a choice of this apple green color, aqua or purple.  Since our living room is earth tones (olive, brown, yellow-cream & white), this seemed to be the best of the colors I had to work with.  I love it because the girls can reach it and can now get their own items out, and also put them away.


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