Friday, June 29, 2012

Cinnamon Buns



We LOVE breakfast in our home and these cinnamon buns (or rolls) are among our favorites. Nyla wants one every morning. That's saying something! :)
I double and triple this recipe, easily, for freezer breakfasts. Yes, they even freeze great even with the icing on them!

Cinnamon Buns--from America's Test Kitchen
Printer-Friendly Recipe
Yield: 8-12 buns


Ingredients:
Cinnamon-Sugar Filling
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (light works fine)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp table salt
1 Tbsp butter, melted

Biscuit Dough
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat and it works great)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled, divided

Icing
2 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp buttermilk
1 cup powdered sugar

Cooking Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with non-stick spray; set aside.
2. Combine all filling ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
3. Dough: Step 1-mix dry ingredients in medium size bowl. Step 2- add 2 Tbsp melted butter to buttermilk, add to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until ingredients are combined. Place on counter and knead until smooth and no longer shaggy, about a minute.
4. Roll out or pul dough by hand into a 12x9 rectangle . Brush with 2 Tbsp melted butter. Sprinkle filling mixture evenly, leaving a 1/2 inch border of plain dough. Press filling firmly into dough, roll up into a log, on one of the long sides. Using a serrated knife cut off 1/2 inch of each side and discard. Cut log into 8-12 pieces, depending on how big you want you cinnamon buns. Start by placing one cinnamon bun in the middle and place the rest around the center bun.
5. Brush with remaining 2 Tbsp melted butter and bake for 20-25 minutes. I start at 20 minutes and that's usually enough.
6. After you remove buns from the oven mix the icing together, the cream cheese may be a little lumpy but keep whisking it until combined (if it stays lumpy, that's okay). Dump it on top of the cinnamon buns immediately and serve warm. Enjoy!

Freezer Instructions:
Follow all directions above, yes even ice them and cool completely. Cover buns and freeze.
OR
After icing buns and cooling completely, divide all the buns from one another, wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze.
When ready to eat, thaw completely and put in a warm oven (if warming up a whole batch of buns) and  heat until warm. If heating up a individually wrapped bun, place in microwave for 20-30 seconds until warm. Eat and enjoy!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Week, New News (From the Archives)

Note: Our oldest daughter is about to turn 2. I thought it would be interesting to look back and previous blog posts for the 2 weeks leading up to her actual birthday. This post was from June 27, 2010...
In this case, the title implies good news. No, this update is not coming from the hospital, although if it were, Little Giant Baby Nyla would have arrived already, because there's no way I would blog while Ginny was in labor, despite the fact that I really think it would be fun to do. (By the way, I think that last sentence was not a run-on. Grammar folks, let me know.) Anyway, Ginny has had a good weekend. Despite an episode Friday night, she slept well and had an almost pain-free Saturday. She had no terrible pain, just some dull pain here and there. Last night was a bit uncomfortable for her with some hip/leg pain, but nothing remotely close to earlier in the week. Today? Another good day, so I think this means she's turned a corner. Perhaps it really was the UTI giving her terrible pain all along, since she finishes her antibiotics tonight. Still, she has another appointment with the physical therapist tomorrow, where she'll get her hip worked on again. Thursday afternoon is a regular appointment with her usual doctor, at which point Ginny will pretty much tell the doctor that Little Giant Baby Nyla has to come out whether she wants to or not. Then again, Nyla may decide tomorrow that she would love to see the world. In either case, I cannot wait to hold her.

Today, our wonderful church family threw the final shower for our soon-to-be family of three. Let me tell you, we are extremely blessed that we have had four showers and Nyla has gotten a lot of stuff. Nyla has gotten a number of outfits, bottles, diapers, towels, and many other items that babies need. Hopefully soon we will post some pictures of her room, since all of her stuff is more or less here now.

That is all for now. We're praying Ginny continues to feel good, and that Little Giant Baby Nyla will come soon, strong, cute, and healthy!
And there you have it. That week was a crazy week for us. We had just moved into our new home the previous Saturday, and the next day (Father's Day) we spent the evening and overnight at the hospital as doctors tried to figure out why Ginny had so much pain in her back. As you can see, she finally was getting better, and the crazy week would soon be over. We'll revisit some more posts leading up to Ny's birth for the next 2 weeks. Until next time, enjoy your day!

-D

Monday, June 25, 2012

Twelve Ordinary Men [Book Review]

It's that time again to review a book. This one is a favorite of mine for a variety of reasons. Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur (Amazon link here - note, no Kindle version available).

If you're going to select a group of 12 men with the sole purpose of teaching them to change the world, fisherman and tax collectors would not be the people to start with. Yet that is what happened. In this book, John MacArthur explores the uncommon calling that 12 men followed when Jesus told them to "follow me".

MacArthur devotes considerable time to each disciple, including the Scripture describing their calling, key quotes that reveal their characters, and what happened to them post-Resurrection. Each man had his own character flaws, but, as MacArthur explains, Jesus used those flaws as teaching points which led to character changes. As you read, you realize that each man brought a different strength to the group that made up for others' weaknesses, which is smart if you're trying to change the world one person at a time. I liked the fact that MacArthur really took the time in each chapter to go over how valuable each disciple was and how we can model ourselves after each - except Judas Iscariot, because he isn't the model we need to follow. He especially went into detail about the "big four" - Peter, Andrew, James, and John, since those are the most prominent ones. With the information given, he actually does a good job describing the "minor" disciples. I especially like the fact that he detailed (with as much detail as history gives) what happened at the end of their lives, where you see the impact of the change in their hearts and lives.

While I have pointed out what I do like, it wouldn't be a review unless I went over the things I did not like as much. Some of the passages I had to read over a second or third, in part due to the wording. Although I wouldn't consider that a total negative, it's more of a product of how he writes and how I read. But I did have to re-read some paragraphs to make sure I fully understood the point being made. Some people would also assert/complain that MacArthur took some leeway in how he analyzed the disciples and drew out their character traits from the information known about them in the Bible. Everything I read seemed well within the confines of proper interpretation. I didn't say to myself, "That's way off base."

For church leaders or class teachers, this is a nice resource for doing a series or small group on the disciples. For those like me who enjoy good books, this is a must-have for the collection.

-D

*Note: These are my opinions, and no one affiliated with the book contacted me about a review.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Menu Plan-June 24



We've had quite the busy week this week and our girls are way off the nightly routine. They've been somewhat of a disaster come five and I know it's because we haven't been home. Tonight we're back in it. We had some great friends come by and see us and give us some relief. I love when we have visitors!

I stuck to our menu this week. We had dinner at my parents house Friday evening and dinner out with friends Saturday evening (they generously paid) and we had good times at both places. As for our June challenge, we blew it Sunday afternoon (Father's Day) and got Mexican. Naomi woke up with a fever so we didn't go to church but got out and ran 2 errands to get us ready for the week. When I asked Daniel if there was anything else he wanted to go do he replied with, "Mexican." Now, I love Mexican and whenever someone says that word I jump on it and say, "Let's go!" So we did. But that's been our only going out adventure and it was under $25, so that's not terrible. I'll blame him for it all though. :)

As for this week we will be staying close to home and getting back in our nightly routine because the adults in the house are worn out too! I'll be making some favorites and adding a couple new recipes too.

Monday- poppyseed chicken (from the freezer and 5 ingredients), rice and vegetable

Tuesday- chicken quesadillas (from the freezer)

Wednesday- chicken stuffed with feta and spinach, over spaghetti and sauce {new}

Thursday- cinnamon rolls and eggs

Friday- zuppa toscana soup (I know soup is weird for a summertime meal but we eat hot foods every other night of the week!)

Saturday- chicken stuffed with bacon and swiss, potato and vegetable {new}

I got a great new book this week, Don't Panic- Dinner's in the Freezer. I've been looking at this cookbook almost everyday and getting so excited about what I'm seeing. I think freezer cooking is pretty easy and it's all trial and error to see what of your favorite meals do well in the freezer. This book has some recipes I've never seen and am anxious to try. I also love that I have all the ingredients in my fridge or pantry and just need the meats they call for. I'm excited that I don't have to buy a bunch of ingredients that I don't already have on hand or aren't easy to get and use with other recipes. I think it'll be a great addition to my cookbooks and my freezer cooking adventures.

What's new in your kitchen?


This post is linked to:
Organizing Junkie's, Menu Plan Monday
Stone Gable, On the Menu Monday
Busy Mom's Menu Plan

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Few Pictures

I was going through my phone and found a few pictures worth sharing.

First, Momma's little laundry helper?













Next, Ny kicking back and enjoying the wind in her face on the swing.




















Sliding at VBS last week. One of the best Ny smiles we get these days on camera!


















And finally, Big Sister hugging Little Sister.



















Have a great Thursday!

-D

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Menu Plan-June 17

June 17-June 23


Happy Father's Day to all you sweet daddies this year!
I'm thankful for my sweet daddy who has been a loving, encouraging and positive role model all my life and continues to be in my adult years.
Secondly, I'm thankful for my husband and the sweet daddy he is to our girls. He loves them unconditionally and is so much fun with them, he's a great sport!
Thirdly, I'm thankful for Daniel's daddy who is in heaven now, but I know (from everything I've heard) that he was a very loving person as well and that Daniel is a lot like him. I'm thankful for who he was to his wife and sons for the years they had him here.

Our June challenge of no eating out is going great. We haven't eaten out once on our dime. We went to Olive Garden a couple weeks ago and used a gift card and had a few fast food meals but our families bought so it doesn't count!

I went grocery shopping on Friday and blew the budget wide open! It wasn't pretty but we have to eat and since we're not eating out we have a little more money to go toward the budget. It's hard when our toddler doesn't eat a lot of what we're eating and when I'm making baby food. Making baby food is a lot cheaper than buying pre-packaged food but it still costs to make. I can't wait until they're eating what we're eating!!

Sunday- french bread pizza (lunch); bbq chicken nacho's (dinner)

Monday- chicken casserole with a kick {new}-5 ingredients!

Tuesday- spasagna (leftovers from the freezer)

Wednesday- parmesan chicken tenders, potato fries, veggies

Thursday- layered enchilada bake, with homemade flour tortillas

Friday- toast, bacon and eggs

Saturday- we have a wedding at 3 and food will be served so we'll have an early dinner there

What's cooking in your kitchen?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

V to the B to the S

It's like the official kick-off to summer for Baptist churches. It's the only time where dancing is actually permitted in the Baptist church. And it's the only time where it's perfectly acceptable for people to drop their kids off with people they don't even so said parents can escape for a couple of hours. All of these things started Sunday night for our little church - Vacation Bible School. This year's theme is "Sky". The tagline for it is (I think) "With God, all things are possible." This is my 5th or 6th year of helping out in some capacity. As a veteran volunteer and retired VBS participant, I thought I'd offer a few observations on VBS then and VBS now.

-Then? We had no dancing. I don't know when someone decided, "Hey, let's choreograph these ridiculous dance moves and make adults demonstrate them to the kids," but I'm glad they didn't have this when I was a participant. As an aside, a well-known Christian bookstore puts out a VBS kit every year, and every year the music/dancing is led by a guy we'll call "Jeff". Let's just say "Jeff" is not a great dancer. Let's also say I am glad we don't use that particular curriculum anymore.

-Now? Snack time is elaborate. For instance, this year has featured root beer floats (or just the option of having ice cream), Jello parfaits, and a mixed bag of popcorn and candy. What's up with that? Whatever happened to Kool-aid and those little butter cookies shaped like flowers with a hole in the middle so you could stick them on your fingers and eat them? Kids these days.... (I could destroy a sleeve of those flower cookies, too.)

-Then? We began every day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I had no problem with that. But then we would do the Pledge of Allegiance to the Christian flag and the Bible. If memorizing those pledges were required for moving up to the next class in Sunday school, I would still be finger painting wearing a big smock apron. I didn't even know a) there was a Christian flag and b) there was a pledge to go along with it. I do remember getting to hold the flags when saying the pledge. I was kind of a big deal like that.

There you have it. Just some observations about VBS. It serves a great purpose, and, though I clown on the music and dances, I really do appreciate all the time and effort the teachers and other volunteers put in to making VBS happen. Last night, I took Nyla for the first time, and she had a great time playing with friends and even dancing to the music. (Those dances are much cuter when she does it, but I may be biased.)

What are some of your VBS memories? What would you add to this list of then vs. now? Enjoy your day!

-D

Monday, June 11, 2012

But God

I snapped this picture on my phone some time ago walking across a little skybridge between the parking garage and my office building.

Life is not easy. Let's be honest - it sucks sometimes. There are a lot of times that are not any fun. That's just reality. Life can throw a lot of gray clouds rain storms hurricanes at us. Storms that shake us and leave us wondering if there is an end in sight. Life has peaks and valleys, but it also has cliffs from which we free fall and keep falling. I know. I've been there. To keep hoping for a bottom that hasn't come yet? It sucks.
The Psalmist in Psalm 73:26 says, "My heart and flesh may fail..." Translation? "I'm defeated. I'm falling. And I'm waiting to hit the bottom." Sound familiar? Stress, worry, money, job, relationships. You name it. Anything can send us free falling.

The Psalmist doesn't stop at, "My heart and flesh may fail..." Our stories don't end at "I'm defeated." The free fall doesn't go on and on.

"... but God..." is what the Psalmist writes. Two words. Six letters. Infinite power. "But God." We don't even have to read the rest of the verse. "But God." Translation? "It's over." The free fall will end. The light is coming. The blue skies are coming.

"... but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever." Yeah, life may suck right now. Yes, the valley is dark and deep. But God is. And that is all we need.

There's a song by Matt Maher called "Alive Again"...
I woke up in darkness
surrounded by silence
oh where, where have I gone?
I woke to reality
losing its grip on me
oh where, where have I gone?
Cause I can see the light
before I see the sunrise

You called and you shouted
broke through my deafness
now I’m breathing in
and breathing out
I’m alive again!
You shattered my darkness
washed away my blindness

now I’m breathing in
and breathing out
I’m alive again!
The skies will clear. The storms will end. Hold onto that glimmer of light that creeps over the horizon, because the darkness will be shattered.

-D

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Menu Plan-June 10

I realized last night that I never posted our menu for the week. We had a fairly busy but relaxing weekend and then Vacation Bible School started Sunday evening at our church so posting my menu plan totally slipped my mind! So I'll just post it now. :)

Sunday- lunch: on your own (Seeing "Mamma Mia" at the Orpheum Theater with my mom and sister)
              dinner: on your own (VBS starts tonight and goes on for the next four nights)

Monday- bbq chicken pizza (freezer meal)

Tuesday- not sure, maybe just some breakfasts from the freezer

Wednesday- taco's with homemade corn tortilla's (taco meat-freezer meal)

Thursday- smothered aussie chicken, brown rice and veggies (chicken-freezer meal)

Friday- pizza (freezer meal)

Saturday- dinner at my parents for Mother's Day and Father's Day (My mom was sick on Mother's Day so we're celebrating both!)- steak, twice baked potatoes, salad and probably a homemade ice cream dessert, made by me.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Some Days...


Some Days...

I don't want to get out of bed.
I want to take a long, hot shower without the interruption of babies needing my attention.
I wish the laundry would just quit; I think it multiplies while we sleep.
I wish the kitchen would clean itself as there are always dirty dishes to clean.
I wish our house were one to two rooms bigger.


But then I remember I'm thankful for my little blessings...

I'm thankful I have two healthy girls who want to play with me and snuggle, as this won't always be the case.
I'm thankful I have a place where I can take hot showers at the end of my exhausting day.
I'm thankful I have more than one outfit to wear as many people just have one or maybe a scrap of cloth that somewhat covers them.
I have more food in my pantry, fridge and freezers right now than some people probably eat in a year.
I'm thankful for the house we have. Everyone has their own bed. We have warm blankets and fans to cool us off. We a big back yard to run around in. We live in a quiet cove where we can run up and down the sidewalks. We have nice neighbors who look out for us.

Some days it really is hard to get out of bed. I remember the life before we had children, how quiet, laid back and easy life was. Now we have kids who yell, "Mommy" because they want one more snuggle before bed or wake up in the middle of the night because of a bad dream. But that word, "Mommy" is a wonderful sound to me. I know some women will never hear those words because they are unable to have kids. I am thankful for my girls.

We have babies who can't feed or dress themselves and who need attention a lot during the day. Some day they'll be able to dress and feed themselves and won't want any help from me. They'll be content playing in their room or with their friends and won't want me around. I'm thankful for the short time I have them because it's flying by. I want to enjoy every minute I have with them even if they fuss for the two hours before bed.

I'm thankful for the good times and the hard times.
It means I'm doing something right.


Currently reading Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Discernment and Insight

Proverbs 16:21-22 (NIV)
21 The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.
22 Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools.

One of the general themes in Proverbs is to live a righteous life. Many verses detail the advantages of living such a life - Proverbs 11:5-6 for example.

As I read these verses, I really thought about those two qualities: discernment and understanding (or insight as the HCSB translates it). What is discernment? What is insight? And how do these two help in living a righteous life?

Discernment: As I think about discernment, I think about the ability to look at a situation both at and beyond the surface to make the right decision. A discerning heart has the ability to know what to say or do in that situation. Not only does a discerning person know what to say/do, he also knows when and how to say/do it. When this person speaks, people listen, because his words are measured to reflect what he wants to say and what the Bible says. Correction and instruction are most successful when the words are chosen carefully and said with the correct feeling or emotion given the situation and person. The wise in heart have this discernment, and as such, others will listen to the words they speak. The wise person has influence because he can communicate effectively and bring others along.

Insight/Understanding: Insight, to me, is having additional knowledge beyond what is basically known. Why are color commentators for sports (generally) ex-players? They have insight. They have knowledge of the sport beyond what the average person knows. To have insight is to have more knowledge or experience. To have that extra bit of information makes a big difference. Why is it a fountain of life for those who have it? Because extra knowledge gives you an edge. In the context of the spiritual life, having insight guards us from making bad decisions. You gain insight by gaining more knowledge, which for us comes from more time spent with God. Insight is our fountain of life because we have the spiritual knowledge to avoid the pitfalls of life that the fool falls into over and over.

That leads to some questions to chew on. Do I possess a discerning spirit? Does my fountain of life flow from understanding? Do I value discernment and understanding? Do I recognize that to live a righteous life and be transformed I must possess discernment and insight? In what areas of my life am I weak in discernment and insight? Am I working to strengthen those areas under the Word of God?
Have a great day! 

-D

Monday, June 4, 2012

Around the World in 80 Days [Book Review]

Once again the time has come for me to tickle the keys of the keyboard with another book review. Clearly the Kindle has been a most excellent purchase, as I have already read 3 books on it in just over a month. Had this wonderful device been around during my high school days, I may have read more books and less Cliff's Notes, but I digress. The book I just finished reading was Jules Verne's classic Around the World in 80 Days (Kindle link).


In short, this was a great read. Verne tells the story of Phileas Fogg, a man of wealth, regularity, and calm demeanor... until his friends at the Reform Club begin arguing whether or not one can truly travel around the world in 80 days, as an article in the local newspaper suggests. Fogg takes the challenge and embarks on his journey with newly-hired valet Passepartout, a small bag of clothes, and some money. What follows is a whirlwind tour of the globe. Does Fogg complete the challenge? Will he be distracted by the sights along the way? And what complications will inevitably arise? This book is a fast read. The chapters are short (there are about 30 of them for a 150-page book), and the details of events mean you are right there with Fogg on his adventure. As you read, you'll notice the defining traits of each character and how, despite their differing personalities, Fogg and Passepartout make their journey around the world together. With the setting in the late 1800s, you already see how travel was "back in the day" and how different it is now.


There's really no reason not to read this book. It will keep you entertained throughout and should be on everyone's must-read list. And as always...




-D

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Menu Plan-June 3

June 3-June 9

Happy Sunday evening y'all. It's a touch late for me to be up and blogging but hey so is the life of this mommy of 2!
I'm sitting in the quiet, watching a little TV (which is highly unusual) and listening to the storm coming through and hoping it doesn't get bad like my man says it could.

We've started our June Challenge of NO eating out. We're just 3 days in, but so far so good. It may be harder than we think but it'll be worth it in the end.

I went to the Farmer's Market this weekend and bought some yummy foods. I bought about 15 pounds of peaches (made baby food for Naomi, a peach-blueberry cobbler, ate quite a few and making another cobbler for Wednesday night dinner at church), 2 pounds of lima beans, 2 pounds of green beans and 2 pounds of new potatoes. I think I could spend half our budget there a month. It's all so delicious!

This week on our menu is quite a bit of food from the freezer. I'm already making plans for more freezer cooking in the second half of the month. I've written down about 3 food items to make. My goal will be to put in one thing a day, that's so manageable for me! So here's what we're eating this week...

Sunday- french bread pizza's (from the freezer)

Monday- chicken and dumplings and lima beans (from the Farmer's Market)

Tuesday- spaghetti and homemade breadsticks 

Wednesday- dinner at church; hamburgers and hotdogs (I'm making desserts and we'll eat for free, good trade!)

Thursday- english muffin pizza's; small group is tonight!

Friday- cinnamon roll toast (I have some french bread pizza in the freezer, perfect!) and bacon

Saturday- grilled chicken, macaroni and cheese {new} and vegetable

Are you making anything new at your house this week?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fire Up the Podcasting Machine

Where I work, we are allowed to wear headphones. This is a good thing, because I'm not keen on hearing all of us typing on our keyboards or listening in on any phone calls. While I do listen to music, most days I am listening to or watching podcasts. They help break up the day, and along the way I do learn a thing or two. So what do I listen to? I'm glad you asked...

Weather Brains - Even if you're just a casual observer of the weather, this is a great podcast. Great interviews with people in weather, banter between the hosts, weather terms explained, and "picks of the week" make this a must-listen for me every week.

iPad Today - Part of Leo Laporte's TWiT network, this video netcast looks at all things iPad. Each week focuses on a theme and features apps related to that theme. Leo and Sarah do a great job explaining why the iPad would be a good fit for you and what apps are best for you.

Catalyst Podcast - Another great listen with interviews from influential people and pastors. The interviews offer some insight into the lives of leaders and what you can take away from how they lead and live their lives.

The Dice Tower - A podcast all about board games. The Dice Tower reviews games, covers board game news, and offers up top ten lists of various games, game components, designers, etc. Definitely worth the time to listen.

Those are the main ones I listen to, but enough about what I think. What are some podcasts you would recommend? Leave a comment and let us know. I'm always on the lookout for new things to listen to at work, on the way home, or before I fall asleep.

Have a great day!

-D

Friday, June 1, 2012

June Challenge: No Eating Out


Who doesn't love a good burger and fries and maybe a frosty too?




Baskin Robbins Chocolate Fudge ice cream is my favorite!



A Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard from Dairy Queen is Daniel's favorite!




Starting today, our family is taking on the challenge to NOT eat out for the whole month of June, unless someone else wants to buy us dinner. ;)

Our goal? To see how much we eat out, how much money we save and what of that money can go toward our growing grocery budget needs. 

While we do know how much money we spend on eating out (I just calculated from our debit card for the month of May and it was around $50. Eek!), having that money at the end of the month will show us we're doing it too much. It's not the dinner that's been getting us, it's the ice cream!

I menu plan each week and very rarely stray from it but come Friday and Saturday we crave delicious ice cream! So we'll gather our little family, ride a mile down the road and pick up a sweet treat. Now that Nyla is eating a little ice cream she's been getting a scoop of her own. Well that's almost $2 for one tiny kids scoop! Eight dollars later the 3 of us have some ice cream. This is not a good habit to be in, especially when I can make a quart of ice cream for 

Sunday afternoons have been getting us too. I didn't have anything planned for lunch on Sunday's since it is a day of rest. But it was getting to the point where we were hungry, nothing looked good so I'd make a trip to Wendy's or McDonald's. This hasn't been a good idea, obviously. So I made some frozen pizza's and that's been on the menu for Sunday's after church. And it's worked out great! It's not leftovers that we're sick of and it takes less than 20 minutes to bake and then we devour it. :)

How are we going to break the habits of going out? It won't be easy. But we've upped our grocery budget from $220 to $250 for the month of June (and future months) and I'll make ice cream each week if we want. I have a wonderful ice cream maker, delicious recipes and Pinterest always has new and exciting things to try. I'll also try my hand at some restaurant knock-off's if we have a craving for one of our favorite places. 

The goal of this isn't to never eat out again, it's an experiment and it's to help us see that we need to cut down on our spending habits. And eating out is the perfect example of cutting down on spending habits. We all say, "I don't have enough money." But how often do we eat out? And by the time it's all over we've spent at least $10 on the meal, per person and does that even include tip at a sit-down place? We need to adjust our thinking and adjust our spending. We can cook just as many great meals at home as we get in a restaurant. And at more than half the price, at least!

I'll update each week along with our weekly menu plan and tell you how it's going. This is a great challenge for us, not because we eat out a lot but we need to see how much we spend.

Do you have any challenges for June? If so, what are they?