Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday on Tuesday

Uh oh!  Monday kind of slipped by me!  Sorry!  I know many of you are off having family dinners and may not need a plan, but I am not.  Since we have moved east, we are always home for the holidays.  It has taken some getting used to for me.  I was used to lots of family and a lot of hub bub around the holidays.  But over the years, I have come to really cherish our quiet time with just the four of us or maybe my mil or my parents.  It is calm and peaceful.  Well, especially now that the kids are older it is calm and peaceful!  So I started preparing the entire Thanksgiving feast on my own fifteen years ago.  My mom is always near the phone on Wed. through Thursday morning, just in case!  And it never fails, that I have to call for just one thing.  Maybe it is more to feel her there with me in the kitchen, for that is where I feel the loneliest.  Our kitchen was always filled with people and lots of bustling.  I am not saying it was all good bustling, but it was NOT lonely!

This year has a bit more "special-ness" to it.  This time next year, our table may be missing one person.  Allie is applying to a gap year with Global Initiative.  If accepted, she will be gone a whole year.  It just struck me recently that means no Thanksgiving, no Christmas, no Birthday!!!!  So I plan on enjoying the peace and calm and soaking it all in.

Monday - Cheeseburger Cupcakes

Tuesday - Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wednesday - Going out with Jack's mom and his brother

Thursday - Turkey
                   Sweet Potato Casserole
                   Potato Casserole
                   Green Bean Casserole
                   Sister Schubert's Rolls
                   Pumpkin Pie
                   Chocolate Pie

Friday - Leftovers!

Saturday - Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

You will notice I went pretty easy with the calories on Monday and Tuesday.  I figure we will eat too many calories on Thursday, and I am hoping off set that with lower calorie meals the rest of the week!

This week I heard from Jill Lawson again!  Her family loved the chicken tortilla soup!  I also heard from Lea Slaton who tried the Chicken Bake.  She was skeptical at first like I was, but said it was delicious!  So, what are you trying this week?  Or better yet, what is on your menu?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Last week I actually heard from someone that had tried one of the recipes from our menu!  How exciting!  Jill Woodruff Lawson, you made my day.  So, if you try one of the recipes, give me a shout out and maybe you will get your name published on my blog as well!!!  :-)

Well, this week we are having some oldies, but goodies!

Sunday - Taco Soup (recipe following)

Monday - Honey Mustard Chicken Strips

Tuesday - Baked Ziti w/ Spinach
                 Zucchini Rounds

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Spaghetti
                  Olive Garden Salad

Friday - Chicken Bake

Saturday - Roast
                 Potatoes and Carrots

My taco soup recipe is kind of one of those oopsies!  I was following a recipe from a cookbook, and didn't quite read it right and BOOM!  A new soup was discovered!  So, here is this VERY difficult soup.

KaKi' Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 can corn
1 can kidney beans
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 pkg. taco seasoning

After draining the meat, add the taco seasoning and let it heat up a bit.  Then add the rest of the ingredients, juice and all.  Let it come to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.  We eat it plain, with sour cream, with chips, however we feel like it or our calories for the day allow!!

Hope you like this week's menu, let me know if you try one out!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Creativity brings Joy

 Being creative brings me joy.  I love to create something from yarn, material, or found objects.  Currently I am on a 2x4 kick and an embroidery kick.  I have been cutting shapes from felt and embroidering details.  I have painted 2x4's and made pumpkins from them.  I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when it all comes together.  One of my big accomplishments this week was taking an old Goodwill flannel men's shirt and cutting it down to fit my body.  This summer my friend, Allison, and I got together to  make a tailor dummie out of duct tape.  We found old floor lamps and wooden hangers and built our own stands.  We had a lot of fun and Sister Sue sits up in my craft room.  This week she finally made her debut and helped me to tailor the shirt.  I made some mistakes and learned some new techniques.  It was exactly what I
needed.  Now that I have practiced, I have a really nice LL Bean shirt I am going to remake.  It was also a Goodwill find!

What ways do you find to create in your life?  Is it cooking?  Writing? Music?  Art?  Gardening?  Drawing?  I would love to hear from each of you.  Most of all, I hope you find the joy in your life.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Let Your Light Shine

I have written about my daughter several times.  She is one of the most amazing people I know, thus worth writing about.  Today my thoughts go back to her as a five year old.  We had just moved here, to NC and left behind her best friend, Molly.  We had also left behind her beloved Montessori school, and Mrs. Kelsey.  Montessori was a fabulous experience for Allie.  She was very motivated and self directed.  She flourished in this environment so much so that we were contemplating letting her attend kindergarten there as well.  This was huge coming from two very pro-public school parents!  But then we moved and that settled that question.  We registered our kids in the neighborhood school because we missed the deadline for magnet schools.  Cary Elementary was a far cry from what Stephen had experienced in Bethesda Elementary and an even farther cry from Allie's Montessori school.  Allie had the hardest time adjusting to the differences. 

Allie from the time she could speak had a very firm grasp on right and wrong and fair and unfair.  I know she is not that different from most kids at that age, but she verbalized her opinions much stronger than most kids her age.  So walking into a traditional kindergarten classroom was a shock.

Allie was taller than most five year olds, but extremely skinny.  I would buy dresses several sizes big to get the length, and then the dress would just wrap around her little body.  So when she came running down the hill from the bus stop, she would billow!  It was quite amusing.  What wasn't so amusing was the big note that inevitably would be pinned to her chest.  She would always jump in my arms needing to be held and reassured after a day away from me.  After that, and while she was snacking, I would read the note.  "Allie was on yellow today because she would not put her work away when it was circle time."  That was the gist of all the notes.  I would sit down with her and ask about what happened.  She would cry and explain that she wasn't through yet and Mrs. Kelsey always said to finish your work before you moved on.  I would calmly explain that Mrs. Postal's class was different.  "But it is unfair!"  would ultimately pour out of this little girl's mouth.  I would hold her as she would then spill every unfair thing that had happened that day.  You see, Allie didn't just observe the unfairness around her, she felt it.  Physically.  She would absorb all that unfairness and wrongness, and then come home to let it out on me.  Yes, to say that kindergarten was a hard year would be an understatement.

This is the narrative of Allie's kindergarten experience that gets retold.  But there is another narrative that lurks there under the surface.  Mrs. Postal had a full-time aid, Mrs. Mujica.  Mrs. Mujica saw Allie.  She saw the bright little girl who stored hurts, just like she did.  She saw the leader in Allie, the resilience, the bravery, the heart.  She became Allie's champion.  Often, when Mrs. Mujica could see that Allie was struggling, she would take Allie with her on "errands".  She would talk to her and build her up.  Almost as often as a note was pinned on Allie's chest, a note would be tucked in Allie's lunchbox.  This note would be from Mrs. Mujica.  "Allie, what a great smile you had today as you worked.  I noticed you helping Sara.  Thank you.  Love, Mrs. Mujica"  She wanted Allie to know that she was good and that the goodness had been seen.   Mrs. Mujica was a pet lover, so when we got Sunshine, they bonded over their dogs.  I think Mrs. Mujica played a big role in Allie coming to accept Sunshine, actually.

What could have been a terrible experience for Allie turned into a cherished memory.  I am not saying that it wasn't hard for Allie and for me, but Mrs. Mujica brought light where darkness could have reigned.  In fact, Allie wants to be a Kindergarten teacher one day. 

On this day, a day that holds significant importance, we need to stop and think about the Mrs. Mujica's.  We often reflect only on the negative and overlook the positive.  Whoever wins this election we will still be here.  There will still be poor people, sick people, hurting people.  This world will still need light.  So, as the election comes to a close this evening and we all learn who will lead us, let us not focus on the dark, the negative.  Let us see the positive, let us be the light where we see darkness. 

Mrs. Mujica died when Allie was in 6th grade.  It was a tragic loss, not only for her young family, but for the many children and families she touched.  Even though she is not here to continue lighting our world, I know my family shines brighter because of her.  I wonder how many lives Allie will shine light into because of knowing Mrs. Mujica.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Menu Monday

Back when I was writing regularly on my blog, I had certain subjects for specific days.  Menu Monday, Wordless Wednesday, and Thankful Thursday.  I know that many of my friends are busy mothers, busy business people, well, just busy.  I know that I am always looking for new and easy recipes to cook.  Now, that I am home, I have more time to research ideas and make plans.  Even though I am home and I have time, I do not like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen making dinner.  So I think I will start back publishing our menu plan, in hopes that it will give my friends some ideas.  Pinterest has offered us many new and exciting dinner options.  I have enjoyed finding new blogs that offer great meal options.  I hope you will enjoy.

Sunday - Crispy Chicken Wraps These are really delicious.  They are pretty high in calorie, so we didn't add a side dish to this.

Monday - Chicken Tortilla Soup LOVE this soup!!!
                 Southwest Salad  This salad is great by itself with grilled chicken or not!

Tuesday - Taco Cupcakes  This girl has some awesome low cal ideas!

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Barbecue Chicken Breasts
                   Roasted Zucchini and Broccoli

Friday - Hamburgers
              Sweet Potato Fries

Saturday - Quesadilla

That is what we are having this week, what about you?