January 7-13

First full week back to normal routine….

My sister-in-law had a conference during the first part of the week, so on Monday and Wednesday, I hung out with my sweet nieces and nephews.   Both days I had a few errands to run and a trip to Walmart was much quicker with four helpers!

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Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons were spent at CGM, the inner city ministry where I serve as Education Director. We recently hired  eight people to work with our kids in smaller groups.  The first week back had its ups and downs, but overall I was pleased with how things went.  I think it will only continue to get better and hopefully the time after school will bless our sweet kiddos.

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I’ve also joined a running group..we run together in the mornings….whew! (That’s all I’m gonna say about that)

Thursday morning was my first class of the semester. I teach at a local university and our semester kicked off this week.  My Thursday class has a small number of students, so I am looking forward to getting to know them and working with them closely I also teach a Friday, all day class.  We met from 9:00-2:00….it’s been a while since I’ve had to stand and teach all day.

Friday night, we went out with some friends of ours B and D Kelly.   Enjoyed yummy mexican food and laughs while we people watched 🙂 (Trustfall…..weird necklace….crazy mannequins)

Most of the day Saturday we spent with family….burgers from Joe Mamas, Y league basketball, NFL and BBQ.    My husband, D,   took my nephews to the Atlanta/Seattle playoff game on Sunday.

Looking forward to the coming week, particularly seeing things get better and better at CGM.

Hope everyone had a great week!

 

First weekend of 2013

It’s been a very uneventful weekend, but a good one.  We spent Saturday hanging out at the house.  It sounded so nice, but we almost got bored….we’re so used to being out and about on the weekends.   I did treat myself to a mani-pedi in the afternoon which was badly needed.   SJ’s into everything these days.  We often refer to her as the “tornado”.  She messes with everything in her path and leaves us to clean up behind her.  We are enjoying her so much.  It’s so much fun just to sit and watch her.  We’re trying to soak up every little minute of her, it goes by so fast.  Its hard not to be sad at her growing up, but we’re so thankful that she is healthy and growing as she should.  She’s such a precious girl.

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Sunday morning we headed to church. Sj’s had a little separation anxiety the past few weeks.   We leave her in the nursery for a while by herself and then D or I will go in and stay with her for the rest of the time.  This morning she cried for a while…..so sad.  I hope that she’ll get used to being in the nursery soon.

After church, we came home for SJ’s morning nap.   After she woke up, we tried the new Genghis Grill.  We’ve been to one before in Nashville….it was very good! We walked around the shopping center a little, got some yogurt. It’s days like these, just being together as a family that are so nice.  Feeling so blessed.

I had some work to get done, so I went on campus while SJ took her afternoon nap.  For dinner, we attempted a new recipe….we’ve been wanting to try our own version of Mellow Mushroom Buffalo Chicken pizza! Tonight, for Downton Day (LOVE Downton Abbey!), we did.  It ended up so good!!

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Buffalo Chicken Pizza (Mellow Mushroom replica)

Dough: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Bread-Machine-Pizza-Dough/detail.aspx

Chicken:  3 or 4 big chicken breasts (I used 6 boneless/skinless thighs).  Put them in the crockpot and cover with a bottle of Buffalo sauce and a ranch dressing mix pack. Stir. Cook in the crockpot for 6-7 hours on low.  Shred the chicken and leave it in for another 45 min-hour

After the chicken is cooked and the dough is laid  out on the pan, spread the chicken and some of the sauce on the crust.  Sprinkle mozzarrella cheese over the top of the chicken (about a cup).  On top of the cheese, spread sauteed onions and cut up cooked bacon (we did this in a saute pan).  Top with another small sprinkle of cheese and a drizzle of buffalo sauce and ranch dressing.

One or two slices of this is enough….oh so good!

A Friday that feels like a Tuesday

Today was a very busy, but good day. I’ve been so off with my days over the break, does not seem like a Friday at all! My semester starts Monday, so I think real life will kick in then.  CGM, the inner city ministry I work with, starts for the semester on Monday. We had a staff meeting this morning as we get things started.  I’m always very encouraged when we are together as a staff. So many people working hard to serve the Lord and be used by Him.   SJ slept during the staff meeting and when she woke up, we headed home for lunch and playtime.  Time at home was very uneventful, ate lunch, cleaned up, did a couple loads of laundry…. then headed back up to CGM.   This afternoon I met with all the teachers that are starting with our kids, while SJ took her afternoon nap.  (I time most of my stuff around nap time!:))  We had a quick staff meeting just to make sure everyone was good to go for Monday’s big start.  I’m really excited about this semester! We’ve got some great people working with us.    Around 5:00, SJ woke up from her afternoon nap and we headed home.

Since we went out on Monday night for New Year’s Eve,  we decided to stay in tonight (Fridays are our usual night out).   I made artichoke crusted chicken (SO good…recipe below!), roasted sweet potatoes, and green beans.  Right now SJ’s in bed and we’re just going to hang out and relax at home.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!

Artichoke Crusted Chicken (from sugarlaws.com)

six-ounce chicken breasts, pounded thin
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (I used canned artichoke hearts, but frozen ones that have been thawed would be fine)
1/3 cup grated  cheddar cheese
Salt
Pepper

Salt and pepper the chicken and then sauté each chicken breast in 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat, for about 8-10 minutes, flipping once, or until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.  Set aside.

Mix together the mayonnaise, artichoke hearts and cheddar cheese until evenly distributed.  Spread the mixture over the sauteed chicken breasts, and then broil at 400 degrees for about 3 minutes.  Do not take your eyes off them — broiling can lead to burning faster than you can imagine.  When the cheese is melted and bubbling and the tops are golden, remove and serve.

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Taco Pizza!

Well, today was D’s first day back at work after the holiday….sad day…. SJ woke up looking around saying “da-da?” “da-da?”  We spent the morning at home picking up.  I have done some major winter organizing over the holiday break (completely purged my closet, organized all of SJ’s first year baby clothes in tubs, cleaned out my jewelry, cleaned out drawers).  Today I finished up by organizing the store-all drawer in the kitchen, knife drawer, kitchen utensil drawer, and the miscellaneous stuff in the laundry room (pet supplies, shoe polish stuff, batteries).  So that was good.  We headed to CGM (the inner city ministry I work with) so I could work while SJ took her afternoon nap.

Before we went to CGM, I prepped for dinner, so it would be a quick fix when I got home.  One of our favorites! Taco Pizza!! Not the healthiest thing in the world, but it is quick, easy and I thought a fun dinner for D’s first day back at work. Of course he was starving when he got home, stuck in juvenile court all day, so he was very happy when he saw Taco Pizza coming out of the oven!

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Taco Pizza recipe (from Real Mom Kitchen: http://realmomkitchen.com/5301/taco-pizza/)

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning mix
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
  • 2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives (optional)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Brown ground beef and drain. Add taco seasoning to the ground beef according to the package directions.
  3. Unroll crescent rolls into rectangles. Place in ungreased 11 1/2 inch x 16 1/2 inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Press dough over the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust.  Bake at 375 oven for 11 to 13 minutes or just until golden brown.
  4. Microwave beans in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute.  Carefully spread beans over warm crust creating a thin layer.
  5. Top with cooked beef mixture, sprinkle with cheese followed by tomatoes, black olives and green onion. Return to oven for 3-6 more minutes until cheese is melted.  Serve immediately

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I made some homemade guacamole along side salsa and sour cream to top it with! YUMMMMY! Enjoy 🙂

Meal Planning 101

Since SJ was born a year ago, I’ve been dependent on meal planning.  I am on campus usually in the mornings and then head to the after school program until around 5 or 5:30.   When we get home, it’s been a long day and worrying about what to cook for dinner is the last thing I want to do.

That’s where meal planning has come in.  What I’ve been doing is planning the meals on Saturday morning and doing the shopping for the week.  But, over the Christmas break, I had a brainstorm. What if I planned for a month at a time?? This way I would only plan once, go ahead and buy all the meat and nonperishables.  I’ll still have to go to the store each week for produce, milk, etc. but those trips would be shorter and all the planning would be done.

SO….that’s exactly what I did.  I planned for the entire month of January.  Here’s how I did it….

I’m obsessed with trying new recipes.  Pinterest has been so helpful for this. 🙂  I also love using my crockpot, so that dinner is ready when we walk in the door.  I already had a big crockpot and my sweet bro-in-law got me a smaller one for Christmas, so I had two good tools at my fingertips for planning meals.

First thing I did was start with a calendar.  I wrote down what events I already knew we had for the month of January.  We usually always eat out on Fridays, so no need for a meal there.  My birthday is this month, so I planned for a few birthday celebration nights with family.

From there, I started looking at recipes. I knew the days that I had to plan for.  I took it one week at a time, trying to mix and match meats (chicken, pork, ground beef, etc) and types of food (Mexican, Italian, soups, etc) so we wouldn’t get bored with the same stuff over and over.   You’ll also notice that I didn’t plan for leftovers.  D usually takes his lunch to work when he’s not in court and SJ and I love to have leftovers for lunch.  I don’t plan on  any meals built around leftovers for this reason.

So then, I just started writing the recipes in by week.  I used my regular weekly planner to write in the recipes and the ingredients I would need by week.  After I had done this for all the weeks in January, I compiled them all into one big master list of ingredients: what I could by ahead of time and what I would need to buy each week, like produce and cheese, etc.

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I printed off all the recipes and put them in a binder by week, so that I could find it when I was ready to cook the meal.  A lot of them are crockpot or casseroles, but I did plan to actually cook dinner on Sunday nights when I’m home all day.  Most of our favorite TV shows come on Sunday nights (Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, some Food Network competition show) so we like to park it in front of the TV with dinner on Sunday nights. 🙂

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So….here’s the final product!

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We budget a certain amount each month for groceries.  A budget is a totally new thing for us, so I”m sure I’ll be blogging about that throughout the year.  I’m hoping that buying more in bulk, going to the store less, and wasting less will save me money and time.   I’m going to the store today, so I’m interested to see what my total is for all the buy ahead groceries. I’m hoping to hit some buy one get one frees! 🙂

Has anyone else tried meal planning for a month?

First Post! January 1, 2013

I’m excited to get this blog going for 2013.   I’m going to try and document the year, not every day, but several times during each week. I think it will be fun to look back at the year and remember!

The year started with a fun night out with two fave peeps, H & J, who will be getting married this year! I’m sure I’ll be posting about that in March. So excited! We enjoyed a great dinner at Central (scallops were yummm-o!) and then hung out downtown waiting for the “virtual rise” at midnight.  The “virtual rise” was not exciting, but the confetti and fireworks show was a lot of fun.  Our little one, SJ, was spending the night with her grandparents, so we stayed out much later than we usually do.  Such a fun way to bring in the new year.  I am feeling really good about 2013! Its going to be a great year!

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We slept in and got up to go pick up SJ and hang out with my in-laws for a while.  We spent the evening with my family eating the traditional black eyed peas and ham.

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Our little SJ enjoyed them too! She ate the peas, but not the ham…..

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I spent some time while SJ was taking her nap to figure out what I have left to get done before going back to work.  I teach at a local university and our semester starts on Monday. I am in charge of placing our interns, so I wanted to make sure all my ducks were in a row for that to start.   I also serve as the Academic Director at an inner city ministry.  Our kiddos return on Monday as well as our teachers.  Lots of details to finish up.

I’m not really ready for everything to get started up again, I’ve enjoyed having D home (his office was closed for almost two weeks) and being with my family more.   But, ready or not, 2013 is running at full force.

Wishing everyone a blessed year!