Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The War on Christmas?

Let's talk about the War on Thanksgiving! 

We hear a lot in the media about the "War on Christmas".  I read an article the other morning (No Truce in 'War on Christmas') and rolled my eyes through the whole thing. 

It offends me that people are offended because store clerks are encouraged to wish shoppers "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas".  Really?  That's what we're concerned about nowadays.  How store employees send us on our way after we spend too much money on material goods that no one really needs. 

I'm so glad we have our priorities straight because I'm sure that God and Little Baby Jesus would certainly be offended that we as a society are trying to be more contentious of including ALL people, religions, and beliefs.  But no, those who celebrate Christmas should be the ones readily recognized for their public service of spending money this holiday season. 

Because after all, that's what Christmas is about and somehow the lack of wishing shoppers a "Merry Christmas" is a personal affront on Christ.  Come on people.  I'll end my rant about the "War on Christmas" here, although I could certainly go on. 

What I'm MORE offended by is not being wished a "Happy Holidays" this season, but the fact that Christmas is starting to encroach on my very favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. 

Consumers are being bullied into making holiday purchases earlier and earlier as stores are bringing out their Christmas displays in late September and early October and carols are being broadcasted throughout stores from November 1st on through December. 

Thanksgiving is a separate holiday that isn't celebrated with presents under a tree and perhaps that makes it a little less popular.  It's about food, and family, and thinking about the things we are lucky to have.  It's a day to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some good food with family and friends. 

I not only enjoy the holiday for those reasons, but I also respect it because it is probably the least commercial holiday of the year.  I enjoy showing up at someone's house with some good food in hand and that being my only contribution.  There's no stress of trying to figure out what you're going to buy the person that already has everything or where you're going to get the money to spend on gifts for everyone on your list.  It's just a nice day with good food.  I like days like that. 

Thanksgiving is slowly being forced out of the picture by Christmas, stealth-bombed by garish lights, hi-jacked by carols booming out of store speakers, and accosted by giant inflatable lawn ornaments of Santa on a Harley in his boxer shorts.  All in the name of being good consumers and spending even more money on even more unnecessary items all in the name of a holiday that has to be bigger and better and more grand every year.  Of course it's not about consumerism, but about celebrating Jesus's birthday. 

Although I don't generally like to admit it, I can't control the world around me, but as for my household we will not be celebrating Christmas before its time.  There will be no holiday music coming from our speakers.  No lights on our house.  No tree to trim in front of our window.  At least not until after Thanksgiving and probably not until this weekend. 

I enjoy celebrating one holiday at a time and for me, November is for Thanksgiving.  Once December hits, I'll gladly switch over to Christmas mode.

Note:  Tidy Home Tuesday will probably be Tidy Home Wednesday this week as it's been a busy one and I haven't had time to get much cleaning done around the house other than the necessities. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Week of November 28th

Sunday:  Clam Chowdah with Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Monday:  Taco Braid with Corn (didn't get to this last week)

Tuesday:  Salisbury Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Carrots

Wednesday:   Beef Stroganoff (CrockPot) over Egg Noodles with Green Beans

Thursday:  Cheese Enchiladas with Mole Sauce with Refried Beans and Mexican Rice

Friday:  BW3-inspired Buffalo Ranch Chicken Wraps (served on Soft Wrap Bread) with Ranch Potato Wedges

Saturday:  OUT

I'm linked at OrgJunkie.com

Friday, November 26, 2010

8 Months!

This boy is growing up much too quickly for my liking.

Admittedly, I haven't been taking as many pictures of him as I used to.  This is because when I pull out the camera usually one of two things happen.  Either he freezes and stops whatever he's doing to look at me quizzically with the very same look on his face (always) just staring and trying to figure out what I'm doing with this fun looking thing in my hand. 

It looks kind of like this:

Although any face he makes is, of course, adorable I can only take the very same picture so many times, ya know?

If it's not the blank, quizzical stare, the other thing that happens is he does the complete opposite and totally ignores me.  Continuing to play or flail around as usual.

Again, anything he does is cute, but I can only have so many pics of him avoiding the camera! 

So what is this 8-month (nearly 9-month!) -old boy up to? 

It has been quite a productive month for Jack!  He's finally able to roll from his back to his tummy.  He has been rolling from tummy to back for quite a while, but before now he hasn't really shown much interest in being on his tummy unless we place him there.  Now, he seems to be getting interested in being on his tummy because I think he's preparing to crawl.  So he's now a rolling machine!  Flipping himself back and forth to get around.

He's not quite crawling yet, but in the last couple of weeks he has started to scoot himself around.  Mostly he turns around in a circle and moves backwards, but I really think crawling is on the horizon.  Scary and exciting!

He has started to babble more.  Before now, Jack's main mode of verbal communication involved squealing.  He loves to squeal and does so at the top of his lungs when he's happy.  He still does this, but now he's added in some syllables.  He now says, "BwahBwahBwahBwah", "BaBaBaBa", and "MaMaMaMa".  So far, I haven't noticed him associating the sounds with anything in particular, but it's so adorable to watch him make these new sounds and listen to him as he talks to himself over the baby monitor.

He can clap!  He does it all the time and we're working on doing it on cue.  When prompted he'll do it sometimes, other times he'll just look at you while you're clapping like a maniac trying to encourage him. 

He's doing great with food.  So far, he's enjoyed everything we've given to him and he loves to sneak bites of things we're eating.  It's getting increasingly hard to eat in front of him because he has figured out what it is we're doing and will stare at us longingly as we eat. 

Recently, we tried giving him some puffs.  So far, he's unimpressed.  He'll eat them if we put them in his mouth, but if we put them on his highchair tray he prefers to play with them rather than eat them.  He'll let them start to melt in his hand, resulting in puff-smelling hands for the rest of the day, or he'll toss them over the side to the dog, which she really enjoys.  We'll continue working on finger foods.

And yesterday was his very first Thanksgiving!  Gobble, gobble!  Here's a rare pic of the two of us together:

We had a successful first Thanksgiving as a family and I hope that everyone else enjoyed their Turkey Day too!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Bug Incident

My poor husband has the disadvantage of sleeping next to me on a nightly basis.  I'm a VERY heavy sleeper and for some reason this coincides with me also being crazy in my sleep.  Of course I'm a cover hog, but among other things, my crazy also extends into random midnight sleep conversations, which my husband tells me he likes to keep going as long as possible just to see where it ends up, and I often awake from dreams thinking that they're real. 

Last night, I was having a dream about bugs.  I don't really remember what my dream was about, but it may have been inspired by a blog post at Grumbles & Grunts that I read shortly before bed regarding baby-led eating and bugs.  All I know for certain is that I was conscious enough at the time of this incident to be mildly embarrassed of my actions.

Shortly after 3am this morning (dead time, anyone?) I suddenly proclaimed to my husband, "GIANT. BUG. RIGHT BY YOUR HEAD.  GIANT BUG!!!!!!!".  To which he, presumably from a dead sleep, jumps out of bed and starts yelling, "BUG!  WHERE?  WHERE IS IT?!". 

Hmm..., I thought to myself now that I was reasonably awake, was there really a bug or was that just part of my dream?  Well heck, let's go with it, maybe there was a bug.  I was all confused at this point. 

So I hand Hubs my book light to check out the situation as I roll over and say, "I dunno, it was hanging right there above your head.  It was a big one.  Maybe it was just part of my dream... ".  ZZzZZZZZzzzzzZZZZ...

You'll have to ask Mark about whether he was comfortable attributing the monster bug to my dream or if he felt like maybe there was a giant bug hiding somewhere near his head all night.  I'm not sure how that played out because after I caused all that ruckus over a likely imaginary bug, I rolled myself up in the blankets and went right back to sleep.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tidy Home Tuesday: Week 2 - The Family Room

This week's assignment is the family room! 

If your family is anything like mine, then this is where you spend the majority of your time.  It houses the baby's toys, the dog's toys, as well as an unnecessarily large TV.  This is where we spend time together as a family, Jack plays, and Mark and I relax and enjoy some TV after the baby goes down for the night.  This is also our only living room.  Because it's the main room in our house clutter piles up quickly and it gets messy easily.  It is well past due for a deep clean! 

Here are some before shots:

Here is our assignment for the week:

Step 1:  De-clutter!

This is the same first step as last week and will be a continuing theme. 

 - Everything needs a home!  So start with that stack of mail or outdated magazines and work your way throughout the room.  Recycle any old magazines, newspapers, and junk mail that you have laying around.  Because our coffee table is the first flat surface you meet when you walk in our house, things tend to pile up there!

 - Now, find a home for all the junk that's laying around.  Random things can usually be found on the back of our furniture - discarded sweaters, and several different hats are usually sitting on top of the chair that my husband inhabits.  Whatever it is, find a home for it. 

 - If you're anything like me then you may have some "decorative storage baskets" a.k.a. "a place to put unnecessary crap".  It's time to dig through those and purge what you don't need.  Organize what you're keeping and make sure that your "decorative storage basket" is the right place for the item.  Donate, re-home, throw out accordingly.

Step 2:  Clean! 

Your family room should be more organized now so it's time to get it clean! 

 - Let's start with dusting.  Wipedown all of your flat surfaces with the proper cleanser and cloth.  Don't forget to move things out of the way to make sure you get all the dust and don't neglect behind things like the T.V. and under your DVD and DVR players.  We seem to collect a lot of dust around our electronics!  Also, make sure to wipe off lampshades, light bulbs, and your ceiling fan or other light fixtures.  Don't forget to tend to all of your knick-knacks that are sitting around collecting dust, as well as picture frames.

 - Clean your T.V. screen

 - Clean your walls and baseboards.  I feel like we're the only people that have this problem, but probably once a month I have to dust or wipedown our walls in random spots.  Dust bunnies collect and make them icky.  Does this happen to anyone else or do we just have disgusting amounts of dust in our family room?  Wipedown your baseboards to make sure they're not harboring any dirt or grime.

 - Let's move on to the windows and window treatments.  Clean your windows and window sills. 

          ~ If you're lucky enough to have curtains or some other sort of fabric treatment now would be a good time to take them down and wash them (or drop them off at the dry cleaner, I'm not sure exactly how that works). 

          ~ If you have nice wood or faux-wood blinds then you can probably just dust them or run a cloth over them to get them clean. 

          ~ If you are unlucky (as I am!) to have crappy, cheap plastic mini-blinds (ICK!) that have not been cleaned since you've moved in and maybe even long before that because they really are a pain in the tuchus to clean then you, like me, will probably spend several hours laboriously wiping down each individual slat with a cloth to take care of the years of dirt, dust, and grime which have accumulated.  There's just really no way around this and yes, it's a pain in the butt.  I swear, next time mine need cleaned, I'm just replacing them.  I had better start a fund for nicer blinds now.

24 hours later...

Still with me? 

 - Okay, it should be time to vacuum now.  Vacuum your floors or rugs and don't forget to move small furniture like your coffee table or end tables out of the way to get underneath.  Use your hose attachment to go around the outside of the room and get the edges where the carpet meets up with the baseboard.  Also, use the attachment to get behind and around the legs of heavier furniture like your T.V. stand and couch.

 - If you have wood floors, do whatever you do with wood floors.  I guess you would dry sweep and then mop like I do in the kitchen.

NOTE:  If you have both a living and a family room then your assignment for the week is to tackle both!  This is one situation where it's a benefit to have a small house :)

And here is my after:

See the blinds?  The ones with eleventy-million slats each?  Yeah, they're nice and clean now, but it took two days of really hard work!  On they upside, they do look worlds better than before I cleaned them.

What are your plans for keeping up with your living area?  Here are my goals: 

Daily Task:  Sort mail and do a 15 minute de-clutter before I go to bed at night

 - As soon as mail comes in the house sort through it and recycle envelopes and junk mail, shred necessary items, and handle other items accordingly.  I need to find a place to file paperwork that needs something done with it.  Maybe I'll put that in the office once I tackle that area.

 - Before I go to bed spend 15 minutes picking up the dog toys, baby toys, folding our throw blanket, and addressing any other things that are laying around.  That way, when we wake up the next morning we will come out to a nice clean family room! 

Weekly Task:  Dust and Vacuum

Bi-weekly Task:  Clean the windows

Alright everyone, let's see your family room before and afters!

You have until next Tuesday, November 30th to complete the assignment and blog about it (feel free to right click and save my "Tidy Home Tuesday" graphic to use in your post!). If you don't have a blog just leave a message in the comments about your progress!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Week of November 21st

Turkey Day is here!  Well... almost anyway.  Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday of the year.  A day that's just about eating good food and spending time with family?  I'm all over that!  Can't wait for Thursday! 

Sunday:  Sloppy Joes with Mac & Cheese

Monday:  Pasta e Fagioli (CrockPot) with crusty bread for dunking!

Tuesday:  Orange Chicken over Rice with Steamed Broccoli

Wednesday:  Taco Braid with Corn

Thursday:  Thanksgiving Dinner with the fam!  I'm making a Garlic Pecan Cheddar Cheese Ring and Green Bean Casserole, because what would Turkey Day be without it?!

Friday:  Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza (Mark doesn't know it yet, but he'll be cooking dinner this night!  We use the crust from the linked recipe.)

Saturday:  Game Day food to snack on!  I've been wanting to try these Buffalo Chicken Bites for a while!  Maybe I'll also make some Spinach and Artichoke Dip to get some veggies in ;)

I'm linked at OrgJunkie.com

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tidy Home Tuesday: Week 1 - The Kitchen

This week we'll be tackling the kitchen! 

I feel like the kitchen is the heart of every home.  It's the room where we nourish our family with food and conversation.  We begin our day by putting on a pot of coffee.  We end our day with a family meal or maybe even a bedtime snack or cup of tea.  And I know a lot of us will be spending quite a bit of time in our kitchens in the coming weeks preparing for the most important meal of the year - Thanksgiving Dinner! 

Let's get our kitchens organized and sparkling for the holidays! 

Here are a few "before" pictures.  These were taken before I got to any daily cleaning so there are dishes in the sink, things displaced on the counters, etc.


Here is our assignment for the week:

Step 1:  Declutter! 

 - Start by putting any dishes that are sitting out in the dishwasher (Or washing and putting them away if you don't have a dishwasher). 

 - Put everything that doesn't belong back in its place and throw away/donate anything that you don't use. 

 - Next, tackle your pantry and fridge.  Throw out anything expired and donate anything you're not going to eat (no use letting it sit around to spoil if you know you're not going to use it!).

 - Organize your cabinets.

Step 2:  Clean!

 - Wipedown (I don't think "wipedown" is a real word, but we're going to go with it.) your countertops with an all-purpose cleaner.  Remember to move everything out of the way to clean underneath and behind appliances and don't neglect the backsplash or that little top ledge on the back of the counter. 

 - Scrub your sink and faucet. 

 - Wipedown all of the things that have a home on your counter - coffemaker, mixer, canisters, teapot.

 - Wipedown your kitchen table and chairs, your appliances, and cabinets.

Step 3:  Tackle the floor! 

 - First, sweep the floor using a broom and dustpan.  Throw any rugs into the washer.

 - Now, go along your baseboards and wipe them with a damp rag. 

 - Finally, mop your floors.

Here's after I was able to clean the kitchen top to bottom!

Ahh!  Much better!  Still not perfect, but unfortunately with my small kitchen and limited storage space this is as good as it gets.  Also, the CrockPot is sitting out because it's cooking our dinner for tonight :)  At least it's fresh and sparkling in person! 

Here's my plan to keep the kitchen under control:

Daily Task:  Empty/Load Dishwasher

In order to keep everything that we've worked so hard on tidy we need to incorporate small, daily tasks to stay on top of things.  This week we'll begin keeping the sink free of dishes.  That means, every evening before bed the sink should not have stacks of dirty dishes waiting to be handled the next day.  Make sure to unload clean dishes from the dishwasher as soon as possible once they are finished washing (I am TERRIBLE about this!).  That way, the dishwasher will always be ready and waiting to hold your dirty dishes!  A dishwasher full of clean dishes waiting to be put away is just going to cause your dirty dishes to be displaced in the sink.  Let's keep on top of things by putting the clean dishes away ASAP so that dirty ones can be loaded right away! 

Weekly Task:  Dry sweep the floor (or more frequently as needed).

Bi-weekly Task:  Mop the floor (or more frequently as needed) and wash rugs.

Alright everyone, let's see your kitchen before and afters! 

You have until next Tuesday (November 23rd, Just in time for Turkey Day!) to complete the assignment and blog about it (feel free to right click and save my "Tidy Home Tuesday" graphic to use in your post!).  If you don't have a blog just leave a message in the comments about your progress!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Week of November 14th

This week, we're going to have a little Thanksgiving preparation with a mini-Turkey Day just for us.  Seems like a good way to try a new spin on the traditional favorites which we will be enjoying x2 on the actual holiday!  There's no complaining from me as I could eat Thanksgiving dinner all week and be quite happy! 

Sunday:  Parent's House for dinner

Monday:  Red Beans & Rice (CrockPot)

Tuesday:  Mini-Turkey Day:  Turkey Roulade with Apple Cider Gravy, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans with Maple Pecan Vinagrette, and Pecan Pie for dessert!

Wednesday:  PW's Braised Short Ribs (in honor of her Thanksgiving Throwdown!) with Garlic Potatoes Gratin

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday:  Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Grilled Cheese Panini

Saturday:  OUT

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tidy Home Project: Cleaning Tips

In preparation for the Tidy Home Project I thought it would be a good idea to discuss what I like to use to clean around my house.  Maybe some of my tips will help you on your own cleaning quest.

Since Jack has joined our family I have become more crazy contentious about the kind of chemicals that we use in our house. Whenever possible I try to use "green" cleaners, most of which I make myself with things you probably already have in your house. Not only is it cheaper, it's better for you too.

Here are a few suggestions on cleaning products:

All-purpose cleaner: In a clean spray bottle mix 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water. I also like to add about 10 drops of tea tree essential oil, which is known for it's antibacterial properties, but it's not necessary.

Some people don't like the smell of tea tree oil (I find it to smell herbal-y) or may not have any on hand.

Vinegar itself is disinfecting and can kill viruses, germs, bacteria, and mold. This mixture is what we use to spray down our counters, stove, etc.

Abrasive cleaner: Baking soda. Baking soda by itself with a little water can be used to scrub anything that needs it. For tougher stains, baking soda can be mixed with a little bit of white vinegar or lemon juice to create a stronger cleaner. This can be used to scrub sinks or tubs.

Kitchen Sink Garbage Disposal: To help keep things moving and smelling fresh dump 1 tablespoon of baking soda down the drain and slowly pour in 1/4 cup of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let stand for 30 minutes and then flush it out with hot water. It is recommended that you do this once a week to keep things fresh.

Grease Splatters: Dampen a towel and add a dot of dish soap (this is made to cut grease!) and then use that to rub all over any areas affected by grease.  This will cause icky streaks so follow up with an all-purpose cleaner and everything with be nice and shiny with no more grease spots!

I've found that I need to do this on the face of our stove and also on the door of our over-range microwave.

A few suggestions on cleaning tools: 

Un-paper Towels: We utilize cloth whenever possible while cleaning in the interest of saving both trees and money.  We used to go through paper towels like crazy and they aren't cheap!  Now, we use cloth to wipe down the counters at night or to scrub off the stove.  Cloth can really be used anywhere that a paper towel is. 

The "un-paper towels" that we currently use are just cheap, rectangular scraps of t-shirt like material that I found at Lowe's.  They get the job done.  You can also use scraps from old clothes, old towels/washcloths, or if you are lucky enough you can make or purchase your own un-paper towels, which are made to replace that old roll of paper towels and come in a number of decorative choices.

Libman Freedom Mop: This is my new favorite thing!  Libman has recently come out with a new mop that is similar to the wet Swiffer that we all know.  I saw an advertisement for it on TV and I knew I had to get one! 

The result: the Freedom mop is SOOO much better!  Why?  For one, the cleaning pad is reusable.  It's nice and sturdy and has built in scrubbies to get your floor really clean.  It attaches securely to the mop and when you're finished using it just take it off and toss it in the washer so it's ready to use next time.  Awesome! 

Another bonus, the container that holds the cleaning solution is made to come off the mop so you can easily fill it with whatever cleaning product you want to use.  This gives you so many options!  I like to use a splash of white vinegar and some hot water and I'm ready to go!  The Freedom mop is so easy to use and has so many benefits I would totally recommend that you get one.  It has certainly made my life a lot easier.  Right now they're doing a $5 rebate if you purchase the Freedom Mop.  I'm not sure when that ends though.

Tidy Home Project

That's IT!  I'm sick and tired of the clutter and I'm finally going to do something about it! 

I've spent a lot of time thinking about how much easier my life would be if I kept ahead of what needed done instead of running around, trying to get to things once they HAVE to be.  Staying ahead of the game is excellent in theory, but in order to do so you have to buckle down and do something about it.  And therein lies my real problem.  I'm a great thinker, but not such a great doer.

But now I'm ready.  We are crusing quickly toward the end of another year and I'm ready to establish new routines around the house so that next year I can start fresh and happy in a clutter-free, organized, and tidy house!

So, if you feel like I do - buried in clutter, sick of the seemingly neverending tasks of tending a home - then join me in changing the way I do things.  Let's establish a cleaning routine together and manage the details to achieve a more orderly, happy home! 

Beginning Tuesday, I will go room by room deep cleaning and getting everything in order.  I'll also add daily tasks that need completed from now on to make keeping up with everything easier on myself!

Anyone interested in playing along?

How to participate:

Every Tuesday I will post an assignment for the week.  You will have until the following Tuesday to complete the tasks assigned.  Once completed, blog about your progress.  Then, come back and link up on my post to brag about your accomplishments! 

Let's all encourage each other and get 'er done!

P.S.  Tomorrow I will post a few notes on cleaning products I like to use around the house to get prepared for Tuesday.

P.P.S. If you want to get a head start on the task, next week I'll be tackling the kitchen!

P.P.P.S.  I'm really going to need encouragement from other people's accomplishments to keep me going so please participate!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

DIY: Yarn Wreath

With the passing of Halloween it was time to take down the Candy Corn Wreath and move on to something else.  It's too early for Christmas decorations so I wanted something Autumn-y.  This is what I came up with:

A yarn wreath featuring Fall colors! 

I used a 16-inch straw wreath form (you could also use foam if that's what you have, but if you're buying something new specifically for this project, I'd recommend the straw form because it's cheaper.  A foam form would definitely be easier to cover though because it's smooth.) and wrapped it with a multi-colored yarn.  It took a whole skein and I actually ran out towards the end (oops!) so I used a little bit of brown yarn that I had to finish it off.  I think it looks okay though.  If you're careful with your wrapping you could probably get the whole thing covered with a single skein, but I had never done this before so I kind of over-wrapped in the beginning.

Then, I crocheted a few flowers with coordinating yarn and attached them with my hot glue gun. 

I really like how it turned out and it was inexpensive to make.  This should take us right up to Christmas time!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Day in the Life of ME!

Go visit me!  I'm over on Domestic Wannabe today chronicling a typical day in my life. 

Thanks to Ashley for having us over!

P.S. There are some cute Jack pictures!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Week of November 7th

Sunday:  Tortelli-Sausage Soup with Focaccia Sticks for dunking!

Monday:  Panera-Inspired Chipotle Cheddar Chicken Panini with Kettle Chips

Tuesday:  OUT

Wednesday:  Burritos

Thursday:  Hungarian Goulash (CrockPot) over Egg Noodles

Friday:  Homemade Pizza

Saturday:  Not sure, maybe leftovers or some snacks to munch on during the games. 

I'm linked at OrgJunkie.com

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Sometimes I get bitten by the green envy bug.  I think everyone gets a case of jealousy at one time or another and I'm not above it myself.

While I'm typically content, occasionally I wonder why others have more than we do.  Why they drive nicer cars or have bigger houses or seem to be able to spend money on whatever they want.  I wonder how they're in a position to do and have while we're not.

I find myself bemoaning our small house.  Going on and on about just needing a little more space.  A bigger kitchen with more storage.  A larger family room.  A fireplace.  A dining area that is able to accommodate more than just our little family.  And maybe even an extra bathroom with a nice soaking tub.  THEN I'd be content and happy, I say. 

I went so far last night as to nag my husband just to let me KNOCK DOWN A WALL and convert our garage, that's currently used for nothing but storage, into an extended living and dining area.  He patiently explained to me why attacking it with a sledgehammer wouldn't really end up being the best option.  We ended the conversation with sighs of "someday".  And I know that it's true.  Someday in the future we will have a bigger house.  A house with more storage and living space and room to entertain and maybe even a soaking tub for me to sink into at the end of a long day.  But someday isn't here yet.

And in the meantime I need to remind myself that we have what we need.  We are lucky enough to be able to support our family on a single income, which allows me to devote my time to raising our baby.  I need to remind myself that we are in this small house that's just big enough for us because we chose to be.  When we were house hunting and purchasing our home, we did so mindfully with the knowledge that soon enough, I'd probably be leaving my income behind in favor of mommyhood.  And for that choice, I'm thankful.

I need to remember that although we may not have everything we WANT, we certainly have everything we NEED.  And it's a funny thing about want, it never really goes away does it?  There's always something we are wanting for.  Something that we'd like to have, but don't necessarily need and I think that's true at ANY income level.

I need to remember that I'm lucky in having everything I need because there are plenty of people who are out there that don't.  There are plenty of people out there who are jealous of my situation and would LOVE to be able to quit their job to stay home with their baby.  Or own their own house.  Or own not just one car, but three.  Or not only have a fridge filled with food, but also an extra freezer in the garage that holds the overflow that we can't fit inside.

Today, I'm thankful for my life.  For our one income.  For our little house.  And right now, that's enough for me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Recipe: Soft Wrap Bread


I want to share an awesome recipe that we enjoyed for dinner last night!  I made Asian Chicken Wraps along with the soft wrap bread suggested with the recipe.  This is my first time attempting flatbread and it was not only easy, but worlds tastier than anything similar you can find at the grocery store.  These are thick and slightly chewy and not at all dry, unlike the grocery store variety.  These wrap breads would make awesome gyros or a really nice wrap for lunch stuffed with any sort of sandwich fixin's you have available.  Try this recipe!

Soft Wrap Bread
Adapted from King Arthur's Flour via Mel's Kitchen Cafe


  • 3 to 3 1/4 cups White Whole-Wheat Flour (you can use AP Flour as the original recipe suggests)
  • 1 1/2 cups Boiling Water
  • 1/4 cup Potato Flour OR 1/2 cup Potato Buds or Flakes (I used potato flakes)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil (you could also use vegetable or canola oil)
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast


Place 2 cups of flour in the bowl of your mixer.  Pour the boiling water over the flour and mix just until combined.  Lightly cover the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the potato flour/buds/flakes with the remaining cup of flour, salt, oil, and yeast.  Slowly add this mixture to the flour/water mixture (after it has finished soaking for 30 minutes) in the bowl of your mixer.  Allow to mix until it is all combined, then increase spead and knead with dough hook for approximately 8 minutes.  Cover and allow to rise for at least 1 hour, up to 2 hours.  Note:  Dough WILL NOT double in size, but it will puff slightly.

Divide dough into 8 pieces and form into balls.  Cover and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes. 

Roll each ball into a 7- to 8-inch circle.  And dry fry (without any oil!) on a griddle or frying pan over medium heat until they are lightly browned and have some air bubbles..  It should only take 1-3 minutes per side. 

Transfer breads to a wire rack to cool.  Store in a plastic bag or in the freezer if you aren't going to use them in the next 24-48 hours. 


Monday, November 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Week of October 31st

Wow!  October really flew by!  I can't believe that it's November 1st and we're heading into Holiday Season!  And of course with holidays come disrupted plans.  You'll see some repeats from last week in this week's meal plan because things got a bit derailed towards the end of last week. 

Thursday was Trick-or-Treat night in our community and it fell right during dinnertime so we ended up getting a pizza around 8pm.  Friday was the end of a long week and a couple busy days and this momma didn't feel much like cooking so we ended up getting take out again.  And Saturday Mark decided we should take advantage of a Buy-1-Get-1-Free entree coupon good for Halloween weekend that we had for a restaurant that we like.  That plan kind of failed because we didn't feel like waiting an hour to eat dinner and I'm sure Jack wouldn't have appreciated it very much either.  We still ended up eating at a restaurant Saturday night, but not the one we had originally planned to.

Which brings us to this week where I'm going to try to get to the meals that we missed last week and keep the overall grocery budget down to make up for the unplanned food expenses of last week.

Sunday:  Asian Chicken Wraps with Broccoli

Monday:  Apple-Cheddar Stuffed Chicken with Butternut Squash

Tuesday:  Shepherd's Pie

Wednesday:  Burritos

Thursday:  Baked Potato Soup (CrockPot)

Friday:  Homemade Pizza

Saturday:  OUT

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