Thursday, December 15, 2011

Becoming a (Realistic) Minimalist

The past year I've really been evaluating all the stuff our family has and has been bringing in. And I'll tell you that I'm a little overwhelmed by it all. We aren't by any means living in clutter city and I do keep an organized home but I'm coming to the conclusion that I want an organized home WITH minimal stuff. But what does that mean for me? And what does it mean for our family of four?

You may have seen the some articles that talk about pairing down your stuff or maybe the 100 things challenge but I can't help but think that's not realistic for most of us. It's not realistic for me. Yes, I want to get rid of a lot of items but how do I want to go about it? And what's realistic for us?

I want my girls to remember the experiences we create for them not the stuff they have. And isn't that true for us all? We remember the memories we've made not all the stuff we had in different parts of our life. Sure we remember some of the things but probably just 10% of those things (favorite doll, book, outfit). I want my girls to live their lives, not be bogged down by stuff and appreciate what they have. I don't want them to have so much stuff they don't appreciate it and just want more more more like society tells us.

I'm also trying to be content with what we have and that's a step in the minimalism direction. Why do I need 6 serving platters when I use the same 2 every time. Why do I need 60 shirts when I wear 12 of them? (Yes, at one time I had 60 shirts). At one time in my life all my "stuff" was important to me but now it's my family. When the girls get older and look at our house will they see stuff or will they have good memories that we helped create? I want that answer to be memories and not stuff.

So, in 2012 I'm going to be more content with what we have. I'm going to keep de-cluttering our lives one step at a time, one closet at a time. And I'm going to help my family create memories that will last forever.

What are some of your goals for 2012?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Naomi is here!

She's here! Our sweet girl #2 made her appearance 1 week ago today. And we are in love with this beautiful girl!!
Here are a few pictures of our little family.

Naomi... yes she is a chunk. We love her rolls.

Yes, you are reading that right... 11 pounds and 4 ounces. It's no wonder I was totally uncomfortable the last 4 weeks or so. And she was 23 inches long too. Wow! Thank goodness for c-sections even if the recovery is a bit longer.

The proud Big Sister. She loves her! She is fascinated with her, obsessed with her piggy toes and loves giving her kisses. I hope that love continues. :)

My girls and me. It's totally weird saying that but it makes me so happy to have 2 beautiful blessings from God. I love my life!

First picture as a family of 4. Wow, there are 4 people living in this house now. That is totally weird. :)

So there you have it, a few pictures from our big week. I'm recovering nicely from my c-section. It's much better than the one I had with Nyla and I'm thankful since I have two babies to keep up with. Naomi is a great sleeper already and Mama appreciates that since I've been exhausted and have gotten little sleep the past 2 months or so. When I do sleep the quality is definitely better even if it's only for 3-5 hour stretches at night. We're all adjusting well as a family of four.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thursday is the Big Day!!

Thursday is the day we finally get to meet our sweet baby girl #2, Naomi!

My c-section is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. We have to be there to check in and get prepped at 7:30 a.m. We are so ready for Thursday to get here. People keep asking how many days I have left, four! Woo hoo!

Please pray for safety for both Naomi and me, a steady hand from my doctor, that Naomi is strong and healthy and that nobody has complications. I'll post pictures as soon as possible!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monkey Bread

It's been a long time since I posted a recipe so I thought I'd share this delicious breakfast recipe with you. It's got just 5 ingredients and easy to throw together. And it's always a hit wherever I take it! Enjoy.

Monkey Bread

4 (10 count) cans buttermilk biscuits
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 stick butter, melted
chopped nuts (optional) I like it without nuts :)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Spray bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Cut up each biscuit into quarters.
4. Mix sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon into a bowl or pie plate.
5. Roll each biscuit quarter into the sugar mixture. Layer in the bundt pan. Between each layer pour some of the sugar mixture.
6. After you've rolled all biscuits in the sugar mixture pour rest of sugar mixture on top followed by the stick of melted butter.
7. At this point you can bake the monkey bread for 40-45 minutes OR cover and place in the fridge to bake in the morning. I really like to make this ahead and bake in the morning if I have time. The butter sits all night and makes a beautiful glaze on top of the monkey bread. But sometimes I only have time to warm up the bread the next day. And it's still awesome.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-October 17

October 17-October 23

Happy Monday Y'all! I hope you're having beautiful weather like we are here. I just love Fall. The cool, crisp air, a nice breeze and sweaters! My mum's are doing well and my yard doesn't look like it needs cutting and that is great. I'm finally back on track with menu planning and cooking, at least the next couple of weeks.

I'll be 37 weeks pregnant with our sweet girl #2 this Thursday. And that is just crazy! This pregnancy has flown by especially the last 4 weeks or so. I feel like I've been pretty well organized in getting our stuff ready or the big day but you never know. The baby car seat was put in our car last night (just in case) and it's really weird seeing 2 car seats back there. I've got my packing list done, now I just need to get the suitcase out and pack! I may even start menu planning for November this week since come November 3rd I'll be in the hospital and a little busy taking care of two sweet girls.

The one thing I haven't done is made many freezer meals like I did right before Nyla was born. I may regret it but I just don't feel up to it and chasing a toddler around keeps me busy enough. I have some great recipes that I think will be easy to make for dinners and I'll be relying on my crock pot A LOT! And another great thing, it's soup season and those are always easy to throw together last minute. I guess I'm not too worried about not having many meals ready to go. :)

Here's our menu for the week. What are you making?


Spaghetti and artisan bread (addicted to this bread!)

BBQ chicken packet, rice and vegetables

Thursday: 37 weeks pregnant!
Creamy chicken, bacon and tomato pasta {new recipe}


Chicken Noodle Soup (my own recipe!)

Bean and Beef Enchilada Casserole (from the freezer)

I may be changing my menu around on Wednesday and Thursday and having soups since it's actually going to be low 50s here and windy. Brrrr! But we'll see. Have a great week.

This post is linked to Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. For more great recipes and blogs check out her site!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

4 Weeks From Today...

Four weeks from today we will have another sweet baby girl in our lives. It's really hard to believe it's almost here! In some ways this pregnancy has flown by but in other ways it's gone by at the same speed it did with Nyla. I'm more or less ready for the craziness to ensue around here. And by craziness I mean having 2 babies under the age of 16 months in the house. Yikes! I know I'll be able to handle it and some days won't be the best, but it is what it is. I'm so thankful to have so much help around us. We have both grandparents in town and plenty of people who would come by and help out if we needed it. I know I couldn't do it by myself. Single parents, God bless you! I don't know how you handle work and a family. Wow. I'm overwhelmed just thinking about what that would be like.

What I'll miss about being pregnant:
1. sweet baby kicks from the inside
2. when she has the hiccups
3. having a big, pregnant belly
4. being able to have babies :)
5. maternity pants
6. having one baby to take care on the outside and having the other on the inside to just feel moving around, that seems easier than what will be soon
7. one baby to tote around and loving on; I worry sometimes about giving enough time to each sweet baby, plus my husband, plus myself.

What I won't miss about being pregnant:
1. the headaches I've had the last few weeks, almost everyday, yuck!
2. the hip and back pain
3. waddling around like a duck :)
4. being hot all the time
5. going to the bathroom ALL. THE. TIME.
6. sleep not being so great the last few weeks b/c my hips are hurting so bad

I know having baby #2 will be awesome! But there are some things that I worry about on a regular basis. I know it's going to be hard somedays. It was hard with Nyla for the first 6-8 weeks. I know it will be a little harder with 2 babies. I just really hope that it will get a little easier each day as we all adjust. I want both my babies to feel lots of love from me and I want to give them all the attention they crave. Plus, I want to be able to rest a little in between so I can take care of myself. Having a c-section is tough on the body and takes a lot longer to recover. I just hope I can hang in there everyday to take care of everyone. Eeek! Obviously, I'm a little nervous about it. Yes, I'm not the first person to have 2 little babies close together, but it's a first for me. So, prayers are appreciated friends, truly appreciated.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekend + Menu Plan Monday-October 2

I am worn out from our busy weekend with family and friends! We did something every night this weekend and I'm pooped. This is why my menu is late coming out.

Friday we surprised a friend from church for her birthday. Her husband set it all up to meet them at a restaurant for dinner then bought tickets for all of us to go see "Courageous" at the movie theater. Go see it. Bring tissues. :)

Saturday night we hosted a fellowship meal with our Connection Class, aka Sunday school class. I was busy all week getting the house ready, while Hubby cut grass and my mom and dad helped with outside stuff too. I'm so thankful for such a wonderful family. (Being 34+ weeks pregnant and hosting an event don't go hand-in-hand and I don't recommend it. I was exhausted all day on Sunday.) My daddy grilled pork tenderloin on the grill. I got about a 2 foot long tenderloin at Sam's Club for $1.99 a pound, spending under $20 for the whole thing, you can't beat that. Everyone else brought sides including rice, baked beans, rolls and of course dessert... cupcakes and cookies. :) We never eat poorly at get-together's.

Sunday after church we came home and crashed. All 3 of us climbed into bed and took almost 2 hours naps. We didn't even eat lunch, just went straight to bed. It was very nice. Then we relaxed all afternoon, went back to church for evening service and then dinner with a big group from church. We didn't get home until almost 9 and that made for a long day, adding to the long weekend. Let's just say I'm enjoying the low key day that is Monday today. :)

Side note: 1 month from today we will welcome baby #2 in our lives! Naomi will be here November 3rd (if not before). I've scheduled the c-section with my doctor and now await it to be scheduled with the hospital which will be 2-3 weeks out from the date. We're so excited and counting down the days! It also feels like crunch time so I'm nesting a little more and trying to do as much as possible the next 4 weeks for Christmas gifts, freezer meals and keeping a clean home. After November 3rd I definitely won't be getting out as much with 2 babies! I'm exhausted from thinking about it. :) Thankfully both sets of grandparents are in town and available for help and believe me they will be called a lot to help us!

Enough talking about stuff, let's get down to food! I haven't cooked but 2 things in the last 2 weeks. That is pathetic. We've gotten invited over for dinners, done leftovers or had cereal. Let's just say Hubby is having a hard time getting something for lunch since he always takes leftovers and there aren't so many in the freezer. Oops. :) Here's what I WILL be cooking this week.

Parmesan Chicken Tenders, baked potato and vegetables

Spaghetti and Artisan Bread

Crock pot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti (family favorite, lots of leftovers!)

Tex Mex Chicken and Rice Casserole {new recipe}


Stuffed Baguettes {new recipe}

Bean and Beef Enchilada Casserole-from the freezer

What's cooking in your kitchen this week?

This post is linked to Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pictures of my girl

Since I'm at a loss as to what I want to post, I'll just post some pictures of my sweet girl. :)

Making a mess with my tupperware. This is so typical. Nowadays it gets pushed out of the way and Dada picks it up when he gets home since it's not easy for me to bend over anymore. I am almost 34 weeks pregnant after all.

Yes we wear colanders on our head. She hands one to me and I wear it and then she wants it on her head. I'm so glad I get to experience all of this. I would hate if I had to miss it.

We went to Olive Garden a couple weeks ago and Nyla wanted to read the menu to us. She is so sweet.

No, that's not coffee it's how the kid water came that day. It was hilarious seeing her drink from it though. She does like to drink from big people cups and this was no different.

We are visiting my mom at her church, she works there part time, and there just happens to be a box on the floor, well Nyla will climb into it. She's goofy like that.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-September 26

September 26-Oct 2

Seriously, October already?! I have got to get on my Christmas craft making and shopping before baby #2 gets here. Eek!
Last week was a cooking FAIL! I cooked on Thursday only. We had a couple from our SS class over to discuss our ideas for our new SS class and that was the only night I cooked. The other nights we had leftovers and whatever we wanted. We thankfully didn't go out and spend money just found plenty to eat at our own house. It just goes to show cooking gets thrown out the window some weeks and that's okay. I didn't beat myself up about it, we just laughed about it. Hopefully I'll actually make what's on my menu this week. :)
Not a terribly busy week ahead and I'm thankful for that. The only major plans, we're opening up our home to our Sunday School class on Saturday evening for a fellowship get-together thing. So I'll be keeping the house clean all week and anything other little things I need to be doing. So here's our menu for the week:

September 26th, Monday:
Dinner with MIL and bro-in-law for his birthday that was this past Saturday; we're going to Central BBQ....mmmm Memphis BBQ. :)

September 27th, Tuesday:

September 28th, Wednesday:
Hamburgers and homemade fries

September 29th, Thursday:

September 30th, Friday:
Breakfast, Waffles and Bacon

October 1st, Saturday:
Sunday School party @ The Gafford Home
We make the main course and everyone else brings sides and desserts

October 2nd, Sunday:
BBQ Chicken Packet with rice and vegetables

P.S. I'm looking to make some items for our freezer to have ready to go after Naomi gets here. I have about a month to cook them on top of being 33 weeks pregnant, taking care of a toddler and getting Christmas stuff together. Any suggestions?
I made quite a few things before Nyla was born but I had much more energy. I'm looking for simple this time. Help please!

This blog is posted over at Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. For more great menu ideas, check it out!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-September 19

September 19th-September 25th

Sorry this is late, we've had a busy week and weekend and I didn't get around to posting this until now. Oops!

Monday, Sept 19th:
Frozen pizzas
I didn't feel like cooking :)

Tuesday, Sept 20th:
Mexican Verde Casserole {leftovers} We really liked this dish!
We never ate it last week so we'll try again this week

Wednesday, Sept 21st: New Bible study at church led by my Hubby, so we're excited around here about it. :)
Cream Cheese Chicken {crock pot, new recipe}

Thursday, Sept 22nd:
Friends over for dinner to talk about our new Sunday School class. Not sure what I'm making yet.

Friday, Sept 23rd:

Saturday, Sept 24th:
Stuffed baguettes {new recipe}

Sunday, Sept 25th:
Bean and Beef Enchilada Casserole {leftovers}
This wasn't our favorite, the corn tortillas made it soggy. We both decided it would be better with tortilla chips and once the leftovers are gone I won't be making this again. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our House: After Pictures

Here are the "after" pictures of our house. You can follow the link here to see the "before" pictures. There are some pretty big changes, unfortunately it's hard to tell from pictures. But we, of course, saw a big difference and are so thankful for them!
I tried to do them in order of how I had them on the "before" picture blog. I hope that helps you envision the changes. :)

In the rock corner is where the giant fireplace used to live. When we moved in our entertainment center was in that corner and our couch and loveseat faced that area. Unfortunately, it was awkward and the loveseat didn't fit great. I was sitting there one day thinking about how I could make the room better. I thought I could move the table and chairs where they are now and move the couches around (you'll see what I did in another picture). And it worked. And I do love to rearrange so that was even better. Hubby actually helped me too because he thought it was a great idea. And we're very happy with the way it all turned out.

The kitchen. Don't mind the sweet girl at the bottom having her snack.
As you can hopefully see we lightened up the wall color and this past Spring redid the kitchen. We got new countertops, more shelving, I painted the cabinets (that was a chore!), got new hardware for the cabinets, new sink and new faucet. We also added an extension to the counterop. Over on the left, to the left of the window you can somewhat see some open shelving above and below the cabinet. This wasn't there before. It was just a giant hole. And the countertop ended as well. It was so awkward. When we moved in I had a bakers rack there and stored some stuff but it wasn't functional and I had hardly any counter space to roll out dough and do prep work for meals. When we were discussing new countertops my mom suggested extending the counter to the wall and adding shelving above and below. Genius! I have a place below to store my mixer, bread maker, crock pot, mixing bowls and my Fiesta serving pieces and above to store my cookbooks, knives, small oven, and some decorative pieces. And it's perfect. The extension added 2 to 3 feet of extra counter space which is great for such a small kitchen!

I didn't have a picture of the other side of the kitchen but here's one. It has our desk with our computer and our small table. The table and chairs were my Great-Grandmother's and we got them recovered with some cute, retro fabric that matches our curtain colors. It's round but has an extension and 4 chairs, though we only use 2 of them plus a different one for the messy girl. :)

Here's a shot of the entire den. Over in the far right corner is where the fireplace was. As you can see we lightened up the bottom half of the wall and it's SO much better. I feel like we have a separate living area and dining area and I love it. It makes our room feel so much bigger. Yes, it's odd to have 2 sets of tables and chairs so close together but we'll probably get rid of the ones in this room and make it a playroom or something. We'll see.

After of the sinks. We chose this look for both bathrooms, it was just easier. New countertops, new sink, faucet, mirror, light fixture, paint for the cabinets and hardware too. It's way better than the crap that was here before.

This is the hall bathroom. I love the black cabinets!

New tile in the master. Remember the gold? It went bye-bye! We chose a more brown tile with flecks of gold-ish. I like it and wish we had done it in the hall bath too.

The master bath sink area.

I didn't take a picture of the hallway in the "before" pictures but any suggestions on what to do here? I've found a picture on Pinterest that I like. It's of different color and size frames and it rotates kids artwork. That might be kind of fun. But I don't know. Suggestions are welcome!

Next I'll do before and after of our bedrooms and closets. The closets are surprisingly awesome for a 1970's house... they're all walk-in's. They helped sell us the house!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Our House: Before Pictures

Here's our cute little house, or rather before it was cute. It was just a little house in these pictures. :) We did some major overhauling in the house and I'm thankful. I'm not sure I could've lived with such dark walls and ugly fixtures and weird sinks. I know, I know. I would've managed but I'm glad I didn't have to. And when we moved in it was all ready and nothing had to be done after the move which is nice. I can't imagine workers being all around our stuff.

Here are some before pictures, tomorrow I'll show you the after pictures. :)

This is "the Beast" of a fireplace. It was gas and unattractive so we got rid of it. If it was wood burning I would've considered keeping it to help heat our home. But don't you love the big rock detail? I sure do. It adds character in our home. See what we did in the after pictures to spruce this area up!

This is the kitchen. See the dark cedar around the window and above the cabinets? It seriously was so dark in these two rooms. We took down all the dusty blinds since Hubby and I don't do great with dust. My mom made curtains for all the windows and I keep them open pretty much all the time to let the light in.

Den and "the Beast" of a fireplace. And more dark paneling. Eek!
Thankfully the floors were in great shape in most places. The kitchen has nice tile, this laminate flooring and the carpet are all in great shape. The only floor we changed was the master bath. Gold tile didn't suit our tastes. :)

Hall bathroom sink, not horrible but not great either. We changed it for deeper sinks and a prettier faucet. All updates in both bathrooms included new sink, new faucet, new hardware on cabinets, plus paint on cabinets, new countertops, new mirrors and new lighting. We kept them similar but painted the cabinets different. Black in the hall bath which looks great and a mocha in the master bath which I could go a little darker eventually.

Gold tile in the master bathroom. Yikes! That was ripped up and changed into a prettier tile.

And the master bathroom sink. Isn't it awesome?! I didn't stay of course. :)
It really threw you when you first walked in. It just made me laugh. I'm sure lots of people are thrown by some of this stuff but it was the style back in the day and it can be changed. You just have to look past it and be open to new possibilities.
And the toilet paper holder and towel bar were replaced with a stainless steel and it's much nicer too.

Come back Thursday for the "after" pictures. Thankfully it looks much better now.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-September 12

We are certainly making our way through September! Could this year go by any faster? Wow. I'm already starting to get Christmas gifts together for this year. I'm thinking gift baskets with a little of this and a little of that might be in order this year. But we'll see.
Here's what's cooking in the Gafford Home this week. I've got my one new recipe coming on Saturday and the rest are becoming go-to meals in our home and I like it. I'm continuing on the route of simplicity for me as the cook. I enjoy being in my kitchen but I just don't have time to do it all day plus I'm so tired when dinner rolls around.

Monday-Sept 12th
Smothered "Aussie" Chicken (a family favorite), rice and vegetables

Tuesday-Sept 13th
Your choice of sandwiches with homemade bread mmmmm

Wednesday-Sept 14th
Mexican Verde Casserole-leftovers from last month
This was a great hit in our home! It was easy to put together and I was able to easily split it into two 8-inch pans to serve one and freeze the other. I was also surprised at how much flavor it had since the recipe didn't call for any spices. But it's delish!

Thursday-Sept 15th
This bread was so simple to make and so tasty. We dipped it in olive oil and a seasoning we put in the olive oil, wow!

Friday-Sept 16th

Saturday-Sept 17th
Chicken and Pepper Pasta Bake {new recipe}

Sunday-Sept 18th

Friday, September 9, 2011

Repurposing Cribs-30 Great Ideas!

I came across this link on a Facebook page I follow and I love it!

It's a link to 30 ideas on repurposing our old cribs. I have the (now illegal) drop side crib in our house and will probably be doing something like these ideas suggest instead of it just going to the dump with so much other stuff.

Check out this great site!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Priority Time

The past week or so Hubby and I have been reading the book of 1 John together, but separate. :) By that I mean, the same passages on the same nights but we do our own study of it and then talk about it once we finish. It's been such an encouragement to me! I don't think he has any idea how much of an encouragement it's been. I struggle with spending quality time with God. I'm a "quality time" person so you'd think I wouldn't have any trouble with it but I do. It's always hurried and it's just not good. I feel like I don't get anything out of it when there's plenty to learn. I struggle with how to read actively, ask the right questions and write down my thoughts, without just rewriting every verse and still getting nothing out of it. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who has constantly encouraged me through this struggle.

Hubby has been working HARD the last couple of weeks to get his thoughts down for a new small group he'll be leading at church (he'll lead and I'll make a snack). We've been talking about doing something in our home for 3 years, basically since we got married, but the timing just wasn't ever right. Now that we have a home we thought about hosting here but with a little one and another on the way there would be way too many distractions. So we decided to have it at church where childcare is available and there's another activity at church on Wednesday nights. :) It starts September 21st and we're so excited about it!

His first lesson for the study is "How to Study the Bible." It'll be about an 8 weeks study and I'm praying it will be an encouragement to everyone involved. Helping him and throwing out ideas has helped me already.

He's seen me struggle with my priority time with God and we started talking about it and what to do to help me and this study sprang from it. While he's been thinking and writing on this subject for some time things really started happening when we got into deep conversation about it. So I gave him a book I've had for at least 5 years to give him some ideas on how to teach on the subject and how to make it more accessible for new Christians as well as seasoned ones. He thinks so logically, which is great but can be hard for some people to understand. He wants me to help him keep it simple, since I think a bit more simply than he does. We are such different thinkers, hopefully that means we'll play off each other well to reach all the people in the study.

The book I gave him is Tim LaHaye's, How to Study the Bible for Yourself. It's a great book and while we both don't agree on a few of the things because we feel you can get bogged down in them, it's a helpful tool to get started on being more consistent with priority time.

I'm praying for God to prepare the hearts of those who are to come, my Hubby who is leading and all those who may be involved in the study and don't know the love of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-September 5

Happy Labor Day week! I hope you have Monday off to relax and enjoy being with your family. If not, I hope the work day goes by quickly for you so you can relax!
We have our usual week or relaxation and church activities that are always fun. I've got a new recipe I'm trying tomorrow and I hope it turns out well. :) Here's our menu for the week!

Monday-Sept 5th
Chicago-Style Pizza Pot Pie {new recipe}
We are thin crust people in this house so we'll see how we like a thicker crust.

Tuesday-Sept 6th
Parmesan Chicken Strips, mashed potatoes and vegetables

Wednesday-Sept 7th
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on my new favorite bread... Wheat Buttermilk Bread from Joy in my Kitchen. This bread has replaced our store bought version and I couldn't be happier!

Thursday-Sept 8th
Layered Enchilada Bake-leftovers from last month (a family favorite)

Friday-Sept 9th
I know, 2 pizza's in one week but it's a holiday week! :)

Saturday-Sept 10th
Lunch: Burgers and fries
Dinner: Sunday School Class fellowship; no details yet so we'll see if it happens. We'll have BBQ Chicken Packet with rice if fellowship doesn't happen.

Sunday-Sept 11th

I hope you have a great week cooking, I know I will!

This menu plan is posted over at Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Check out her blog post for more great menu planning ideas!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Naomi's Room

Welcome to Naomi's room! We are so excited about the arrival of our second baby girl. I'm 30 weeks tomorrow and I'm so excited the room is done and ready to go. When we had Nyla last July we had just moved into our house and her room was completed when I was about 36 weeks pregnant. I did NOT want to do that again! I like to be ready and organized even though I don't want Naomi to come until I'm at least 37 weeks so her sweet little lungs develop. :)

Enjoy all the pictures of Naomi's room. It was fun to paint with Hubby, giving us the chance to talk to one another and fun shopping for all the great stuff and making our little projects for her. We did quite a few for Nyla's room not too long ago so we had to do some for Naomi. I'm so ready to meet our second baby girl!

Welcome to Naomi Carrick's room!

Changing area and shelves. These 2 pieces were both in Nyla's room and they were great to have. The shelves will soon be filled with diapers, wipes and anything else we need to keep handy.

Wow this is super blurry.
I originally made this for Nyla but since she's against hair bows it got moved into Naomi's room yesterday. Glad it transferred over though.

Cute lamp my mom recovered from leftover bed skirt fabric. We wanted purple this go around and found some cute fabrics.

Sorry about the blurry pictures, yuck.
I made similar pictures for Nyla, unfortunately I'm not too creative so Naomi got pretty much the same pictures. :)

Hubby's favorite one I did. It hangs in the middle of the 3.

Naomi's crib. This crib was the one my sister and I slept in when we were babies so it's pretty special to be able to have one of my daughter's in it. I originally wanted to use it for Nyla but my mom wanted to set it up in their house; it only got used about 6 times so we so could've used it for Nyla. Oh well.

Up close shot of the bumper pad fabric and ribbon ties. This is the fabric I fell in love with at JoAnn's and couldn't put done. It was VERY hard to match though which was the only set back. I wanted a different fabric on the inside of the bumper pads like we did for Nyla but because of the odd shades of color it didn't work out. It still turned out cute. My mom made all the bedding. She's so good!

Here's a picture Hubby did for Naomi. He's so good and the colors are perfect in her room. I'm in love with it! Now Nyla needs an original by her sweet Dada. :)

Leftover fabric and ribbon make for a super cute pillow. This is another creation on my mom's. This will be our chair to rock, snuggle and feed Naomi in. It was also in Nyla's room but since she could care less to be rocked it got moved. My mom did recover a chair for her room and it's totally cute. I'll have to post the changes me made to her room while in the process of creating Naomi's room.

And the curtain. It was just a plain, beige curtain so my mom used leftover bumper pad fabric and put about 20 inches tall on the bottom and topped it with ribbon. Then did about 10 inches up top (but not all the way to the top) with more ribbon. I'm so happy with how it turned out!

So there's Naomi's room. I hope you enjoyed the tour. We're very excited about it turned out and can't wait to see our baby girl in it! I hope she likes the purple as much as we do! :)

Menu Planning Made Easy

I'm done with involved recipes, at least most of the week. I'm back to making simple meals for our family, meals that don't require a lot of prep time. I'm just tired, tired at the end of the day from chasing a 13 month, being 6.5 months pregnant, it's hot outside, dishes pile up, laundry needs to get done, I need a shower and a nap. I'm just tired. Who's with me?

I love menu planning and won't stop but the meals you'll be seeing here will be more simple than they have been lately. I'm back to recipes with few ingredients.

Menu planning, where to begin?

I do my menu monthly, it's just easier for me at this point. Yes, our plans change and I do move meals around but I don't let that stop me from planning the whole month so it's already done week in and week out. I used my colored pens (yes I love pens) to separate my weeks. I'll use light pink one week, orange the next and blue the next, etc. This just makes it easier to see what week and day we're on. I also mark through the day once it's done. So here's my steps for how I menu plan.

Step 1: Get out supplies.
I get out my recipe binder with my favorite recipes, any other cookbooks, my colored pens and this sheet. I write in my date (ex. Mon, Aug 29) in the smaller box and in the bigger box I write the meal plan along with where I can find it (ex. Parmesan Chicken Tenders-Binder; Baked Chimichangas-Taste of Home, pg. 171). I do this so I can find it so when it comes time to cook and I'm not searching to find my recipe.

Step 2: Start the process.
Pick out your favorite recipes and your family's favorite recipes and write them down. Ask your family to write out a few recipes that are favorites and start with those. I try and prepare as much variety as our budget allows a week. Some weeks it just happens that we have more chicken, like this week, and that's fine with us because it's all prepared differently.
I usually do one Mexican dish and one Italian dish a week since we like those so much. I also do either pizza or breakfast on Friday's and just switch every other week. Some weeks we have leftovers, but I do specify what leftovers we have to plan ahead and use my freezer inventory wisely. Some nights we just have sandwiches and chips too. On Wednesday's and Sunday's I make it easy on myself so we're not rushed before and after church. That's where the wonder of the crock pot comes into play most often. I like that appliance on those two days.

Step 3: Fill in the gaps.
This happens more times than not, I have too many chicken dinners here and I've already done sandwiches that week or breakfast and I'm not sure how to fill in my gaps. Hey, it doesn't always work out perfectly! So I just put in quick stuff, i.e. baked potato with bbq chicken (I always have cooked chicken in the freezer) or we'll do sandwiches again but I'll make a french bread loaf for something different or we'll have more leftovers. It doesn't matter, the fact is I'm planning and thinking ahead and it just works for me.

Step 4: Stick to it.
This may be the hardest step of all for me somedays. I'm craving something different or what's on the menu just isn't appealing. But here's where I don't go crazy... I just move my menu around and pick something from another day. *gasp* You can do that? Of course! I told you, I'm flexible when it comes to that. We do that probably once a week in this house. I don't fret, I just make sure we have all the ingredients for the other meal and adjust. The idea of "stick to it" is just stick to the monthly menu and try not to go away from it. Use what you have and what's available. And it's no problem.
This also comes in handy for not going out so much. People say, "oh we have nothing to eat in this house so I guess we'll just go out." Well that's great for some people but it doesn't work for us. We can't go out every single week, our tight budget doesn't allow. And we both try and watch what we eat and going out doesn't come in line with that. People say they have nothing to eat because they don't plan. If you plan ahead you will have all the food you need for that week's dinners. When you menu plan, make your grocery list, go shopping and you're done. It's that easy!

Step 5: Make it easy on yourself.
Don't pick crazy recipes you know you'll never make. So what if you have spaghetti every week?! Do what you feel comfortable doing and just get in the habit of menu planning. For a long time we'd have spaghetti and chicken fingers every week and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm going back to doing that and Hubby doesn't mind at all. I'll throw in a new recipe here and there to challenge myself and just to have fun with it (most likely on a Saturday when I have help wrangling the babies), but I don't go crazy. Look at my past menu's. They are so not elaborate and detailed. I just don't have the time to make big elaborate meals. If I want to make something somewhat fancy I pick a day where I'm not so busy, say a Saturday that I have free.

I hope that helps you as you venture into the world of menu planning. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try and help. I love talking about planning. I feel it's too easy not to do, but that's just me. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gratituesday: On Comfy Chairs and Love

Last night my Hubby wrote the sweetest blog about our baby girl. Yes, it brought me to tears as most of his blogs about our life together usually do. Read on and be reminded of our loving God's great love for us.

Here's the post:

Every once in a while we need reminders and perspective on the preciousness and value of love. Tonight was my reminder.

You see, our sweet daughter has been undergoing a barrage of teething the last few months. Not just any teething mind you, but the dreaded molars - the big ones - have been popping through. For whatever reason, the last one-year molar is soooooo close to erupting, which, by the way, might be the worst term ever for a tooth coming in, but has yet to break the surface.

Click her to finish reading this post...

This post is linked to Heavenly Homemakers Gratituesday!

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday? Write about it on your blog, then come link up with us here.
If you don’t have a blog, be sure to leave a comment letting us know what you’re grateful for!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-August 29

August 29th-September 4th

As you've seen or will see in posts I'm changing up my dinner menus and going back to make simpler meals. I'm still menu planning but the meals I'm using you may see more than once a month. :) I'm just needing to make life more simple and preparing simpler meals is a step in that direction. While this menu plan doesn't have too many of those simpler meals, I decided to go simple after this week since it was already planned.

Check out my recipe index for all the recipes we eat in this house. I've linked them up to my blog, other blogs, recipe sites and google docs for a quick print out version.

Monday, August 29th:
Beef Chimichangas {new recipe}

Tuesday, August 30th:

Wednesday, August 31st:
Baked potatoes with bbq and homemade bbq sauce

Thursday, September 1st:
made in 2, 8 inch pans for another meal another night

Friday, September 2nd:
Breakfast-Sourdough Waffles {new recipe}
I successfully made my first sourdough starter last week!
And this recipe makes a lot of waffles but I freeze our leftovers, especially breakfast items. Hubby likes to take different breakfast foods to work so I keep our freezer stocked for him.

Saturday, September 3rd:
Easy Chicken and Dumplings {new recipe}
This is a Paula Deen recipe I got from her magazine that I borrowed from a friend. I'm sure it will be tasty! And it's my first try and chicken and dumplings. :)

Sunday, September 4th:

What are you cooking this week?

This post is linked at Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Check it out for more great menu planning ideas and options!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-August 22

August 22nd-August 28th

Happy Monday Ya'll! Sorry I'm late getting my menu out but wee had a nice relaxing day yesterday and I didn't want to give it up and I didn't plan ahead and schedule my posting. Sorry about that!
Here's what's happening in our house this week. For some reason I have a lot of chicken going on, some weeks that's just how it is. When Hubby looked at the menu this week he was really excited about what was planned even if there was a lot of chicken. It features a lot of his favorites, plus 2 new recipes I've been wanting to try.

Monday, August 22:
Grilled Chicken Roller (one of Hubby's favorites)
with mac and cheese and vegetable
I cook this in the oven and will use italian dressing

Tuesday, August 23:
Smothered Aussie Chicken (another of Hubby's favorites)
with rice and vegetable

Wednesday, August 24:
Hamburgers and mac and cheese
We go easy on Wednesday's since we have church

Thursday, August 25:

Friday, August 26:
BBQ Chicken Pizza (a family favorite)

Saturday, August 27:
Lunch: reunion on Hubby's side, we'll make a quick appearance since it's around Nyla's nap time.
Dinner: Breakfast

Sunday, August 28:
Lunch: Crock pot Brown Sugar Chicken (new recipe)
Dinner: Out with church people to discuss Sunday school class stuff
And I have no idea where the recipe came from so I can't link it to anywhere. I'll figure it out and get it on here. Sorry.

What are you enjoying this week?

This post is linked to Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Check it out for more menu planning ideas!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gratituesday-August 16

I'm thankful for...

My sweet Hubby! I just thought this vacuuming picture was funny. He still does vacuum for me every week which I love; I HATE to vacuum and he doesn't mind so it's win-win!!

Not only am I thankful he likes to vacuum I'm thankful for the man he is. He strives to serve our Lord and learn more everyday. He's getting together studies for a Bible study we're starting at church next month and I love being able to sit with him and talk about what he envisions for the study. I'm praying for him and the people that are to come to it. It's an exciting time in our lives! We have a sweet baby girl and another on the way in November and he's so in love with both of them. I'm thankful he's a loving father and follow of Christ. I couldn't ask for more!
What are you thankful for today?

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday? Write about it on your blog, then come link up with us here. If you don’t have a blog, be sure to leave a comment letting us know what you’re grateful for!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-August 15

August 15- August 21

Happy mid-August!
I have been doing so great with sticking to our menu. I'm so proud of myself. It's not easy with a toddler at your feet but thankfully my husband is home to wrangle her so I can get it done. She still escapes into the kitchen but I hope that means she'll like to cook with me someday!

Here's what's happening in our house this week:

Monday, August 15:
Fettucini Alfredo meal
from our Angel Food box ordered last month

Tuesday, August 16:
Bean and Beef Enchilada Casserole {new recipe}
I've been hitting up our local library the past couple of months and have found a huge section of cookbooks, this is a recipe from one of the books. I think the book was 9x13 casserole type meals.

Wednesday, August 17:
Baked potatoes with leftover bbq
Who doesn't have tons of bbq leftover in their freezer from all the summer's activities? This is a great way to do something different with it. Try our homemade bbq sauce too!

Thursday, August 18:
Chicken Taco Pasta {new recipe}
This is another meal from the cookbook finds at the library. It's made with ground chicken which I've never used so it'll be an adventure in new recipes and new ingredients!

Friday, August 19:
I've been looking at this recipe for awhile and I think I'll finally try it!

Saturday, August 20:
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches {family favorite}:
This is a quick meal to throw together because I already have cooked, shredded chicken in the freezer from making my chicken in the crock pot. I also make some homemade rolls to go with it. So yummy!

Sunday, August 21:
Stouffer's Meal
from our Angel Food box ordered last month

What's cooking in your kitchen this week?

For more menu planning ideas see Menu Plan Monday's.

This post is linked to I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Check out the page for more great ideas.