Thursday, December 25, 2008

Low Stress Christmas

My Christmas wish came true. For the first time since we procreated Tim and I have spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ALONE with our kids. Just our nuclear family. I freakin' love it!! We are blessed with great families on each side but we really wanted at least one Christmas where we were not running over the river and through the woods. We wanted to just focus on our four little ones and we did just that. It was totally casual but with 4 kids ages 10, 5, 3, and 17 months it kinda has to be. We went bike riding and had frozen pizzas for dinner on Christmas Eve. We put up the tree and let the kids decorate it. After writing Santa and letter complete with begging for a Bears win on Sunday, they scurried off to bed. Tim and I then watched church on TV. It was Rick Warren from Saddleback. Interesting guy. . .he kinda reminds me of a white male Oprah with some Jesus-talk thrown in. Got up this morning to open presents and each 2 tubes of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. For Christmas Day lunch? Hot dogs and taco dip. After naps, we're going to take a walk on the golf course and make pasta e fagioli for supper. I LOVE IT! Low stress, baby. The rest of the fam is showing up in the next few days. We'll have a great time~we always do down here~but it was so nice to have a little quiet Christmas in Dixie. All alone.

So to all my bloggy friends Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year! And Christmas cards are on the way~they went out int he mail yesterday!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Never Say It's Going Well

About 2 weeks ago Tim and I had the "isn't our marriage going great" conversation. We went out for dinner and to a movie to celebrate our 15th anniversary a bit early. We both commented on how we were on the same page with lots of things and we haven't had a big fight in at least 6 months. Of course, that jinxed us. We had a big ole fight on the day of our anniversary. I'll spare you the details but it was one of those fights that thankfully are few and far in between. So I have learned my lesson. No more patting ourselves on the backs about how great we are! The good part was I got a HP Notebook for an anniversary/guilt present. It's pretty cool but I have no clue how to use it!

We're on our way to Hilton Head for at least 10 days. We may come home earlier since we tend to wear out our welcome down there. We are pretty excited about having at least 2 days down there all alone. We're planning to go see Gregg Russell's Chritmas Concert in Harbour Town and maybe hit the Piggy Wiggly. Great fun!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An Apple a Day

I used to have a bowl of apples on my kitchen table. I don't anymore.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

OK, So I'm Not Frugal

I love reading Gayle's blog about frugal grocery shopping. She's got great recipes and ideas for stretching a dollar. She feeds a family of 6 for less than $60 per week. While I love reading her blog, it has induced an incredible amount of guilt! I was spending about $150 per week~more than double and I don't have big eaters. Greta eats barely enough to keep a bird alive and Amelia is just starting to outgrow the picky phase. I have spent the past few months working at getting my groceries down to "Gayle level" and I have failed. The best I can do it $100 per week. So what's my problem? Well, it's complicated but a lot of it boils down to what my family likes and what I prefer to feed them. I really am trying to be as healthy as possible and cut down on sugar, sodium, and fat. I also do things without High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and organics whenever I can. Here's what I have learned about pricing and why my grocery bill is stuck at $100!
  • I buy low fat, low sodium, low sugar canned goods. This often removes generics from my list. EX. Meijer brand Cream of Chicken Soup $.79 Campbell's Healthy Request Cr of Chicken Soup $1.39
  • I buy the leanest ground meat~100% white meat turkey/chicken and ground sirloin. Unless it's on sale~and it rarely is~it's up to $5.69 per pound.
  • We always have a lean protein with breakfast. Caroline and Amelia both struggle with concentration in school so a high fiber/high protein breakfast for them is a must. I do peanut butter some days but often it's turkey sausage. I can find them for $1 a box on sale but that's not too frequently.
  • I don't buy snacks with HFCS in them. That doesn't leave a lot of options beyond fruits and veggies. Meijer has a store brand organic that makes some snacks without HFCS~teddy grahams, cookies, ect.
  • On the snack front, I don't bake. This is one place I could save some money but tasty baked goods are a temptation for me so I just try to stay away from that. When cake mixes go to $1 or less I make the WW snack squares. My kids love them and they are lower in sugar than other snacks.
  • I buy A LOT of fresh produce~like 6-8 red/yellow/orange peppers per week, 3-4 cukes, 3 pints grape tomatoes, 2 bunches of bananas, 5 lbs of apples. These are for snacks~I buy more for cooking. In the winter this is expensive.
  • I don't shop at Aldi. I have tried it a few times and the only things that my family eats that had a significant savings were eggs, cheese, and milk. Those 3 things saved me about $3 per week and since I have Wyatt with me when I shop and gas was so high, I figured the 3 dollars wasn't really worth it. Now that gas is cheaper and I can go in the evenings without kids, I may try it again.
Nutrition is a passion of mine and I have been doing more reading about how food affects us. It's fascinating and frustrating at the same time! I LOVE crap food. I love McDonald's french fries and Taco Bells nachos. I love chips and onion dip. I once heard Dr Phil say that is 80% of our eating is healthy and we are somewhat active we have 20% room for junk. I don't know how scientific that theory is but I like it! I try to eat really healthy at home so that when we do go out to restaurants or friends houses we can eat the fun stuff.

So how do you teach your kids about healthy eating? Do you have any good tips? I feel like everything I read is the same thing. "Make a funny face out of fruit!" I need something better than that!

Monday, December 08, 2008

She's a Canuk?

I usually post cute things my kids say on my blog just so I don't forget. I used to scrapbook and now I just don't keep up with it. Caroline has beautiful scrapbooks keeping track of her every move. The rest of 'em? Not so much. I always thought I'd remember everything they said and did but I can't remember if I brushed my teeth today so remembering cute stuff is jsut not going to happen. That being said. . .here's Greta's quote 'o the week.

While listening to the McKenzie Bros 12 Days of Christmas I say, "I love the part where they say '5 goldens tuuks"

Greta~"I like the part where they say BEER!"

Yep. Nice.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday~Enchilada Pie

Tuesday~Parmesan Chicken and Angel Hair

Wednesday~Chili Mac


Friday~Wendy's~Christmas shopping

Saturday~Chicken Cordon Bleu Loaf

Sunday~Leftovers~Chruch Christmas Program in the evening

Thursday, December 04, 2008


1. Brian's Song
2. Ice Castles
3. A League of Their Own
4. Field of Dreams
5. Eight Men Out

1. Jingle Bell Rock~by ANYONE
2. The 12 Days of Christmas (With the exception of the Mackenize Brothers)
3. My Favorite Things~This is not a Christmas song. It's a show tune.
4. Something about a hippo
5. Hark The Herald Angels~Point Of Grace~It TOTALLY sounds like the Sweeny Sisters.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Icky Vicky

Anyone else wanna slap this girl? I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Biggest Loser and never ever have I despised someone as much as this chick. Check out this blog entry about her.

Icky Vicky.

I was so sad to see Amy leave. Hopefully, Vicky will BOMB this week and we can get rid of her. Please.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


Lots of leftovers and missed meals last week. Ugh! The week of a holiday plus Tim's work issues made for a nutso week. Hopefully I can get back on track this week since I want to lose 5 pounds by Christmas. Think I can do it?!

Monday~Ham and Turkey Subs

Tuesday~Bar Louie $1 Burger Night

Wednesday~Sour Cream Quiche w/ Crescent Rolls

Thursday~BBQ Pork Steaks
Sweet Potato Fries

Friday~Christmas shopping and Wendy's

Saturday~Enchilada Pie
Rice and Beans