What I Read This Week: 2

Here’s some of the posts I read this week, that I thought you should too! Enjoy!!!

Gander’s Generosity from Simply Staci – I read this while watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. This post was the perfect ending of the games for me. The generosity of the Canadian people shines bright!

Toddlers’ Dictionary from The Heavenly Life – A MUST read for moms of toddlers. HYSTERICAL!!

The Lie Many Parents Believe from Simple Mom – GREAT parenting post. Reminded me some of what wer’re reading in our small group right now.

The Compassion Bloggers in Kenya – Two of these women I followed before they went to Kenya. Now they are there together. They’ve been sharing amazing stories through their blogs and Twitter this week. Grab a tissue if you go read these. They are worth it though. Beautiful in so many ways. I sponsor a Compassion child in Peru, and this makes me pray for her even more.

Once A Month Mom Cook Off: Update 1

It’s 10:30, and I’m taking a break. Well, I had to make the Princess’s lunch – yes lunch. She eats lunch at 10:45 at school and is therefore starving by this point each day.

I’ve been cooking since 6:30. I got an early start since we have a soccer game this afternoon, and I want to be done before then. I’ve already completed the majority of MY PLAN. This is what is left:

Pizza Topping

Pizza Crust

Chicken Quesadilla fillings

That’s it! Whoop!

I’ll try to write my summary tonight. And, yes I’m taking pictures. Just haven’t downloaded yet.

Wish me luck to finish before soccer!

Once A Month Cook Off: The Plan

As you may have “heard” on Twitter and in reference here on the blog, I’m jumping into the Once A Month Mom Cook Off. I’m doing this for two reasons:

1. My freezer needs some meals – both for the family and for me to give away. I give away several meals a month to folks who need them.

2. There are prizes involved in this here competition. And, I’m competitive. VERY! As in, my husband and I don’t play card games because I hate to lose. That competitive. Did I mention there are prizes. The first place prize is a food processor. I SERIOUSLY NEED a food processor!!! The rest of the prizes ROCK too.

Even if I don’t win one of the prizes, the full freezer is its own win.

If you haven’t checked out OnceAMonthMom.com, you should. She is AMAZING! Every month, she creates a menu – complete with shopping lists and to-do lists – that you and a friend can do together. If you follow her plan exactly, two families are pretty much set for meals for a month. That would be if you follow it exactly.

I’m not following it exactly. For several reasons:

1. I have picky eaters in my house.

2. I like to cook alone – well, most of the time. This week for sure. It’s been a crazy week.

3. I’m on the Losing It! plan, and want to be VERY careful about what kinds of meals I put in the freezer. That means no casseroles.

That all being said. Here is my cooking plan with recipe links (OAMM=Recipes from this month’s OnceAMonthMom.com’s menu plan). You thought I’d never get to it didn’t you.

Thursday Night

Cook Chicken – DONE!

Friday Morning

Shred Chicken – DONE!

Friday Night

Cook Ground Beef

Crystal’s Lazy Granola (OAMM)

Saturday

Quiche

Pizza Crust (OAMM)

Pork Loin Marinade (OAMM from $5Dinners Cookbook)

Pork Chop Marinade – from The Big Cook Cookbook

Sloppy Joes – from The Big Cook Cookbook

Ziti

Pizza Topping (OAMM)

Chicken Quesadillas (This is a jump off of a OAMM choice – I’m tweaking what she chose)

Banana Pancakes (OAMM)

Losing It!: Update 03.05.10

So, a week ago I sat at my computer and declared that I was joining the LOSINGIT ladies. It was a hard post to write, but wrote it I did. And, even better, I’ve been working on it!!

First, I want to thank all of you for all your sweet comments. It’s awesome to be joining some amazing ladies as we work to become healthier moms. I’ve read all of your comments several times over the week, especially when I was having a rough day.

Here’s where I am on my goals:

1. 8 glasses of water a dayNO PROBLEM. Hit it every day. I tweeted sometime during the week that I was having more trouble with how often the water was coming out than with actually getting 8 glasses in. I was going to try and drink just water and did for most of the week. There were one or two glasses of UNSWEET tea however.

2. One sweet treat a day – I thought I would need this concession. However, I haven’t had a sweet treat every day. Really? Can you believe it? I think it’s the power of knowing that if I need it, it’s there. We had a snow day on Tuesday, and I made chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa for the Princess and her friend. I didn’t drink any hot cocoa (which is huge as I love it) but did let myself have two cookies warm from the oven. The rest of the days it wasn’t really too much of a struggle not to have sweets.

3. Nothing Deep FriedNO PROBLEM. Not even a french fry. Oh no, wait, I had potato chips when I went out to lunch on Thursday. Are those actually deep fried? Darn, I thought I had made it. Well, I didn’t have any Chick-fil-a. I didn’t get fries all week. So, I consider it done.

4. Exercise of some kind 4 out of 7 days HERE IS THE PROBLEM! I didn’t exercise at all. Not once. NADA. Zip. Zilch. **sigh** Exercise is my nemesis. I could come up with TONS of excuses, but that’s what they would be, excuses. My Sweetie kindly offered to show me how to use the treadmill. (Yes, we have one. No, I’ve NEVER been on it. And it folds up. Makes me nervous.) I have always found a reason excuse not to get on the treadmill.

It’s obvious what I need to work on for this week. Not obvious to you? Really? Did you read #4?

The plan for this week is to add some exercise. The Princess came home from school Thursday all excited about exercise. Apparently the lady from Wellstar had been to her class that day and told them all about healthy eating and exercise. She told me that she needed more whole grains please and that she needed to exercise more. She then proceeded to do sit-ups and push-ups while I read to her. I’m thinking if she keeps doing that, I just need to do it with her!

Things that have helped me this week:

1. The LOSE IT app on my iPhone. It is FREE! and works really well for keeping track of my calories. I told it what I wanted to lose per week, and it decided how many calories I could have. It’s got a search function that has most foods I eat listed with their calories. For some reason, counting the actual calories is working better for me better than counting points ever did.

2. Refillable Water Bottle – I know how many ounces it holds, and I just keep filling it all day.

3. Cantaloupe – I cut up some cantaloupe and then put a cup of it out on the counter after lunch. I don’t like my fruit to be too cold, so it gets just the right temperature as I wander into the kitchen to nibble. Rather than grabbing something unhealthy, I eat a few chunks of cantaloupe. It’s nice and sweet and hits the spot.

4. My Sweetie – He has cheered me on all week, and I REALLY appreciate it. Like REALLY, REALLY!

So here’s the HUGE news. I‘m down 3% of my body weight!!! I am so excited. That’s just counting calories and not adding exercise yet. I wonder what’s going to happen when I add in the exercise?

I’m looking forward to reading how the rest of the LOSINGIT! ladies are doing over on Giving Up On Perfect today. I can’t wait to cheer them on!

Things I Love Thursday: The Food Loop

You know how you get some things for Christmas and you’re not sure what to do with them, but you think you might need them so you stick them in a drawer? You know those things? Well, I’ve had such a thing sitting in the back of one of my kitchen drawers for YEARS. YEARS,I say. I’m actually kinda embarrassed to be admitting that. It was a gift from my loving step-mother-in-law (how’s that for a mouthful) several Christmases ago. (Hi Dottie!) She knows I love to cook and got me the perfect gift. Except I wasn’t really sure what to do with it and shoved it in a drawer and forgot about it. For YEARS – have I already said that?

Anyway, last Sunday I was making Ina’s delicious GARLIC ROAST CHICKEN WITH VEGETABLES (divine by the way). It called for the legs to be tied together. One to ALWAYS follow directions, I was scrambling to figure out what to tie them with. Can you tell I haven’t roasted a chicken lately? Looking in the drawers, I found the box labeled THE FOOD LOOP. Thinking that it might help my plight, I opened the box. Yes, I know it is tragic that I hadn’t even opened the box in all these YEARS! This is what I found.

Perfect! I took one of the cute pink “silicone trussing tools” and made a quick loop around the legs of that there bird.

I tweeted the picture of the chicken and got hysterical comments back. One friend wanted to know if there was a pink hair bow to go with it. My mom thought I had used one of the Princess’s hair elastics.

I have found a new friend in the kitchen – THE FOOD LOOP. I love it.

For more things to love, visit Things I Love Thursday at TheDiaperDiaries.net.

Disclaimer: I was not given The Food Loop to review. It was a gift from the aforementioned step-mother-in-law. All opinions are mine and mine alone. I just wanted to share the goodness.

Works For Me Wednesday: Thoughtful Gifts

Do you have a friend going through a rough spot? Are they in a valley? Do you not know what to do? My answer is always to bake or cook or take the kids, but sometimes that’s not the right thing to do. Sometimes they don’t need that kind of help. They just need to know you’re there. That you are thinking about them. That you are praying for them. That you love them and you’re just a phone call away.

I was in a valley last fall. One of my dearest friends was really sick. My Sweetie was out of town with his father who was having quadruple bypass surgery. It was a scary week. My faith was strong, but every hour seemed a struggle. Every day so very long. My friends and family rallied around me. They kept checking on me and seeing if I needed anything. Some brought me food. Several gave me cards. Many sent encouraging emails and Facebook messages. One friend even dropped this at my door with a nice note.

If you know me, you know that I’m a chocoholic. SERIOUSLY!! Love me some chocolate. This gift touched my heart in so many ways. She had done something so simple, but with oh so much love. All it was was a votive holder with ribbon tied around filled with Hershey Kisses. Simple, but perfect. It said, “I know you. I love you. And, I’m here for you.” Tearing up as I type about it. So very powerful.

That’s what WORKS FOR ME today. Thoughtful gifts. Thoughtful notes. They can reach out to someone who is in pain. They can celebrate someone who is rejoicing. They can be… well, just perfect.

Yes, I kept the votive holder with the ribbon attached. I know I’ll use it someday to pass the love (and kisses) on to someone else.

What do you do to show someone you care?

For more great ideas of what works for many, click on over to the Works For Me Wednesday carnival.

Menu Plan Monday 03.01.10

How is it possibly March already?  Seriously DO NOT know how that is possible.

LAST WEEK’S UPDATE:

Tried two new to me recipes last week. I made the PORK DUMPLINGS on Saturday. They were SO GOOD that they got their own post on this here blog. AMAZINGLY GOOD!!! However, not for those looking for a quick meal.

Sunday afternoon I made Ina’s GARLIC ROAST CHICKEN WITH VEGETABLES. It smelled INCREDIBLE while it was cooking. I somehow timed it so that it was ready just after the big hockey game. Perfect! I chose not to make the CLOUD BISCUITS I was originally planning to make with the chicken since I have joined the LOSING IT! Challenge. They would have been just too tempting, and the only one who really needs carbs in this family is the Princess!

THIS WEEK’S PLAN:

MONDAY: Small Group (Not Cooking – Whoop! Whoop!)

TUESDAY: Chocolate Chili (from freezer)

WEDNESDAY: Beef Sandwiches (beef from freezer), green beans

THURSDAY: Chicken Burritos (use chicken, rice, and black beans from freezer)

FRIDAY: Leftovers

SATURDAY: Sub sandwiches – hubby pick up

SUNDAY: Taco Soup (from freezer)

You will notice I’m using a lot from the freezer this week. Well, isn’t that the point of putting it in the freezer? To use it later? Tee hee hee. Actually, the reason is that I’m going to do the ONCE A MONTH MOM COOK OFF. Yep, I’m gonna do it. Next Saturday. Which means that I need some freezer space! Why am I doing it? The biggest reason I’m doing it – I need a food processor. Seriously need one. And, that’s the grand prize. So, I’m going for it. Even if I don’t win, I’ll have a freezer full of food to use and give away. So, be looking for more posts on that this week.

To find more great recipes and menu plans, visit Orgjunkie.com. Go ahead and click over. You know you want to.

Steamed Dumplings

Are you a fan of the Chinese steamed dumpling? I am a HUGE fan of the Chinese steamed dumpling!!! Like HUGE!!! It’s probably because I was made in Taiwan (seriously, I was – Dad was stationed there) and my parents ate them ALL the time. They would go to lunch and get a big bowl of dumplings and some soup. So technically, it was one of the first things I consumed.

Since my mom is such a fan, we never went out for Chinese food without dumplings being a part of the meal. I introduced them to many friends over the years, and they all thanked me for it. Even now, I’d rather just have steamed dumplings than any other Chinese food. However, in order to have them, you’ve got to go get them or wait for a delivery person. I don’t like the ones in the freezer section at all. So when I saw a recipe for pork dumplings in this month’s FAMILY FUN magazine, I was excited to try them.

You can get the recipe on their website. It’s a four parter. One part on how to make the filling. One on how to stuff them. One on how to cook them. And, the final one for the dipping sauce.

THESE WERE DIVINE. They smelled SO good as I was making them and were just melt in your mouth good. My Sweetie and I enjoyed many! I put some in the fridge, so we’ll see how they warm up. I also put some in the freezer to see how they freeze.

THEY TOOK HOURS TO MAKE. Seriously ¬†– hours. Part of that is because I need a food processor – in a major way. I’m, thinking of doing the Once A Month Mom Cook Off just so I can perhaps win a food processor. There was much cabbage to be shredded, which meant I was mincing it without a food processor. In addition, you had to stuff each one and keep them covered with a damp towel while you were making more. This is a PROCESS! Finally, I was using my little bitty veggie steamer in my big frying pan to steam them. I could only get on about 7 at a time, so it was slow going.

Things I learned:

These are worth the effort. Really. They were that yummy. Especially if they reheat well.

You DO need to cover with a damp towel like it tells you.

You DO need to spray your metal steamer or they will stick.

If I continue to make these, I’ll probably invest in a bamboo steamer. It would make the process a whole lot easier.

Is there something you’ve tried recently that turned out great? Not so great?

What I read this week and you should too!

During my blog reading this week, I came across several posts that I wanted to “Retweet” so that all my friends could read them too. Then, I realized that not all my readers are on Twitter or my friend on Facebook, and that they would miss them.

So, I decided to do a post to share them all with you. These are things I read this week that touched me in some way. They made me laugh. They made me cry. They made me think.

Enjoy!

MY PERFECTION from “I Should be Folding Laundry” – Grab a tissue! You will tear up.

YOU KNOW WHAT MAKES ME PRODUCTIVE from “OhAmanda” – Amanda always makes me smile and nod as I read her posts. This one is no exception.

MENU PLANNING MAKES A DIFFERENCE from “Money Saving Mom” – We all know I’m a huge menu planner. I’ve even got it as a category. You can see what we’ve eaten for the last few months on this here blog.

INTENTIONAL PARENTING PART 4 from “Life on the Wild Side” – The House of Hills is very much a fan of intentional parenting. This is a great post on teaching finances to little people.

WHY MOMS NEED MISSION STATEMENTS from “Inspired to Action” – Do you have a mission statement? I have one for work, but I don’t for home. We need a House of Hills mission statement! There I said it out loud. Now, to make it happen.

IN WHICH SMOCKITY CONSIDERS JABBING A BALL POINT PEN INTO HER EYE from “Smockity Frokcs” – Absolutely hysterical post about a day a the library and the true definition of “patience.”

Have a GREAT weekend friends!