Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

Here we are at Menu Planning Monday again...Have fun perusing my menus. There are no links, because these are all recipes from cookbooks. So, everyday this week, I will share the last night's recipe with pictures.
Sunday - Balsamic Pork Chops, steamed asparagus, homemade vanilla pudding and sliced strawberries
Monday - Robert's Birthday!!
Tuesday - Shanghai Pasta, Avacado and Grapefruit Salad, Apricot Cobbler.
Wednesday - Speedy Stroganoff and Tossed Salad, with Zuchinni Bread
Thursday - Bangkok Wraps and Sliced Oranges
Friday - Pasta Salad with Fresh Herbs, French Bread and Butter
Saturday - Stuffed chicken Breast, Sauteed Green Beans with Slivered Almonds.
For more menus, please check out Laura's blog, Organizing Junkie!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Low-Cal Ideas

Hey, out there in blogland!

Today, I am thinking about all the ways to cook more low-fat, as I try once again to lose some weight. So, I've compiled some tips, some of which are hopefully new to you!

  • When purchasing ground beef, save money by NOT buying the leanest cut of meat. However, after you have browned the meat, put it into a collander and run VERY hot water over. Much of the fat will rinse right off!
  • To lengthen your ground beef, add some nutrients, and cut down the fat per serving, stir-fry grated zuchini and add to your browned, ground beef AFTER you have rinsed it. You will get more mileage from you meat AND will add vitamins from a veggie that many children do NOT like to eat (and they will never be the wiser!).
  • Make low-cal versions of your favorite recipes, especially casseroles, by replacing fat-free sour cream (better yet, use plain yoghurt) for the real stuff. Use low-cal soups, such as Campbell's 98% Fat Free Mushroom Soup, instead of the higher calorie alternative.
  • Next time you serve Rago Spaghetti Sauce, or some other brand of store-bought sauce, added steamed and pureed yellow squash, carrots or sweet potato to the tomato mixture. Again, this pumps up taste, nutrition and mileage.
  • Better yet, when you have some spare time, roast the above listed veggies with some garlic and chopped onion. Puree. Add this to lasagnas, meatloaf, soups, tomato sauces, etc.
  • Have a sweet tooth? Try one square of sweet baker's chocolate and eat a fruit salad. This squelches my hunger for dessert!
  • Poach eggs instead of scrambling or frying them! They taste just as good without all the fat. (If you need instructions on how to poach eggs, just ask me!)
  • Eat a hearty salad prior to serving the main course at supper, it will fill you up on good stuff and lessen the chance of overindulgence.
  • When you feel hungry in between meals, go for a protein snack...such as string cheese, a handful of almonds or a boiled egg. This seems to squelch the munchies for me better than just eating a piece of fruit or some veggies.

Well, those are some suggestions. Let me know if any work for you!



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Links to Workout Videos

Hello, Everyone!

We are back from camping and rushing around to get ready for school. Hope that you are all ready for the new school year. I will be sharing pictures from our camping trip for Outdoor Wednesday, next week. Couldn't get everything prepared to do it for today.

Today, I'd like to share with you my thoughts about the importance of exercise. We all know that we need it and I think that most of us have experienced how good we feel when we are on a regimen, but it so incredibly hard to fit it into our busy days. So, it is easy to convince ourselves that we just can't get around to it.

It's more fun to exercise with someone, so I like to do it with a friend. That makes me accountable to someone to get my rear going. We get together at her house and work out to DVD's. However, I have just found another resource that is great for when you are by yourself. There are oodles of yoga, pilates and other workout videos on YouTube. All you need is your computer and enough space to move around and you have it made! What's great about using YouTube videos is that they are free and also there are enough varieties and so many of them, one isn't easily bored by having to do the same old thing all the time. I think it is always easier to workout at home than to get to a gym.

Yoga. This discipline is so wonderful for gaining overall strength and flexibility. Here are links to a few of my favorites...

Pilates is great for strengthening one's core muscles, which in turn strengthens the back and helps to prevent injury. It is an often demanding routine, but can be worked up to...

Now, just add a good, swift walk for 30 minutes, several times a week and you will be good to go!



Monday, August 17, 2009

Sweet Friends,

I am taking a week's hiatus from blogging. We have one week left of summer vacation and will be using some of it to go camping. I will return to visiting and blogging next week.
God bless!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kitchen Command Center - Pt. 2

I wanted to show you an update of my organizational system....

As you can see above, I've added to the filing system that was already there, a plastic holder for my pens and markers and two chore lists, one for each child.

Below is a planner I purchased recently, with markers and post-its.

I use a different highlight color for each person in our family: Sarah is pink; Mark is blue; Robert is yellow and I am purple. The family color is orange. As I write down activities in my daily planner, I highlight each activity according to which family member is involved. That way I can tell at a glance who's got what and when. I patterned this system off of my friend, Teri's.

Below is my Flylady calendar (flylady.net), which has extra big spaces for the days, so there is plenty of room to write in activities. I coordinate this calendar with my daily desk calendar, to make sure that I am very organized.

So, far this system is really working well for me. I'm so thankful to Laura, at Organizing Junkie (orgjunkie.com) for the ideas for a kitchen command center and the filing system. I feel so much more together with all this going on to help me run my family in a more effective way.

Have a great day!

Also, I haven't been visiting blogs much. The end to this summer (school begins one week from this coming Wednesday) is bearing down on us fast and I am very involved doing stuff with the children. I will try to get by over the weekend and will be a better blogging friend after August 24th!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The other day, my husband and I celebrated my daughter's 14th birthday by taking her to a matinee of the movie of her choice, "Julie & Julia" (I highly recommend it). The theater uses reserved seating, so as soon as we got there we began looking for where we were suppose to sit. When we located our row, I became concerned, because right next to our seats, at the end of the row, sat a very obese woman, who was taking up two seats with all of her food, including one of the ones we were to use. This concerned me because I usually cannot make it through a whole movie without getting up to use the restroom and I could see that this would be difficult. We all pushed past this lady, but, rather than have her move her food from the one seat where I would have been sitting, we offered to bump down an extra seat so she could have the space. However, shortly thereafter, the person who had the ticket for our extra seat came in and we had to move over anyway.

As I sat there next to this lady, I began to think about what it is like for her to sit in a body that is weighed down by hundreds of pounds. I wondered if her joints hurt or if it is difficult to walk. I envisioned the prejudice she must run into, aware of it or not. from being an obese person in a thin-obsessed society. As I sat contemplating these things, my heart really hurt for her. I could see that at least on this occasion she was eating food that would only add to her health problems. Had she given up trying to be healthy? Was the hill to steep to climb? Did weight loss seem completely impossible? Or was this a one-time treat while on the road to a healthier lifestyle? Does she have friends? Is she lonely? Depressed? Suddenly, I began to pray in my heart for this woman, for her body and for her soul. I prayed that the Lord would help her in her struggles and that he would bring kindly people into her life to assist her. I prayed that she would feel loved and treasured, to know how special she is to Him.

During the movie, my seatmate and I began exchanging comments about the film, especially the funny parts, of which there are many. I know this sounds funny, but we kind of bonded during the movie. She had what sounded like a North Carolinian accent. She was warm and very funny. It felt comfy sitting next to her.

At the end of the film, I wanted to ask her more about herself, but she hurried up and out of the theater before the press of the crowd could prevent her. So, my friend left without my being able to say good-bye. It's funny, but having prayed for her, I felt a tie to her and a concern for her well-being. I thanked the Lord for the circumstances that led to our being put in seats next to each other. And I carry her in my heart even now, days later.

I am reminded how important it is to be kind and loving with others and to refrain from judgement. It requires slowing down and taking time to find out about people. I am thankful I wasn't rushed that day so that I had time to contemplate this sweet lady. It somehow made me a part of her life, if only for a few houris.

God bless you, friend, where ever you are, whatever you are doing. God keep you in His Grace, now and always.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Kitchen Organization

I want to share with you my new kitchen organizational system. You know, we always have piles of papers cluttering our tiny counter space. I never know what to do with the stuff. I need it nearby, but I don't like it on the counters...So, I went over to my friend, Laura ,at Organizing Junkie. She always has great ideas for organizing every aspect of home living. Well, I found a recent post on organizing Kitchen Command Centers (HERE) and I used those ideas to devise my own system. It's a place to hold all the papers that come home with the children from church, school, friends, etc.
This is what you will need to make my Command Center: 1 1/2" Expandable File Jackets (in various colors)

Adhesive labels

A roll of Adhesive Magnets (craft store)

Glue gun


and Scissors

Assemble your supplies and then lay out the file folders so that they are staggered like this...

Using your marker, write out the names of your family members on the labels, one name per label...
Afix the labels to front of your file pockets, making sure to center them just under the tab. Then, turn over your files and apply a good sized stream of hot glue around the top and half of the sides up.

Glue them together so they are staggered in order, like this...

Now, that your files are glued together, turn them over. Cut a length of the adhesive magnet long enough to cover most of the length of the back of your folders...Do this twice and afix!
I also attached a length of the adhesive magnets to the back of one file pocket to use as a place to store coupons!

Now, just place these on the fridge and you are good to go. They hold quite a lot of stuff, too!

Hope this is helpful for you!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Growing Pains

Today, I went shopping with my Sarah, purchasing clothes for the upcoming school year. This was the very first time that we have shopped in the Teen department. Up until now, we have always been in Girls, but today we ventured forward. It was really fun, watching her try on clothes. She was so happy and excited. My heart was in my throat, though, because I know that I am watching her grow up faster than ever. As we shopped for her first foundation garment, I was thrilled for her, but sad for me. She will never be a child again. Growing pains are in my heart.

I have had/am having such a wonderful time with my children. I believe that being the mother of dependent children is the greatest time of my life, and that's saying something. I know that someday I was lose them. It is happening in little tears of independence. Today, was one of those.

I am thankful for my kind and lovely daughter.