Monday, August 31, 2009

This weeks menu...

Around here food seems to be on the minds of many all the time...
First thing in the morning, "What's for breakfast?" A few minutes after breakfast, "Can I have a snack?" The second they come in the door from school, "What's for snack? Have you started dinner? What are we having?". My husband even calls on his way home from work, "What are you making for dinner?".

It's never ending. Which isn't good for a mommy trying to lose the "five" pounds or so that I've held onto from each pregnancy. That adds up to 25 pounds I need to lose. Doesn't sound impossible, but when you're stuck at home all day it's proving a lot more difficult this go around.

Anywhoo...I don't know about you guys but my grocery bill has more than doubled in the last year, and in the last month seems to be going up $50 here and $100 there. I am going crazy with the amount of money we are spending on food and necessities. We may need to go back to Ramen Noodles and soup here pretty soon. Good thing winter is coming. Fresh fruits and veggies won't be available to me to buy a ton of each week so it will be back to frozen and canned which I can find coupons for...though we don't like nearly as much.

Monday - Shrimp Tortellini w/ marinara, salad, and garlic bread

Tuesday - London Broil, zuchini and squash, apple crisp

Wednesday - Turkey Stramboli w/ spinach

Thursday -Grilled Chicken, grean beans, and rice

Friday - Hamburgers/Hot dogs, baked beans, homemade french fries, and fruit salad

Saturday - I'm hoping for a date night so we shall see...

What's on your menu this week?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Making lists and checking them twice...

I have had an ahh haa moment this week. And oh how great it is! We have always given our kids chores and responsibilities, but never really followed up on one specific thing. We would say "get your rooms done before dinner" or "son it's your night to take out the trash" or "Princess (which we really don't call her unless we're pretending to bow down to her all knowing self) please clean the table off for dinner". The majority of the actual "chores" falls on me. The laundry, cleaning bathrooms, kitchen, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping etc. etc. You know the list.

Well, with baseball season starting up again the excitement of the concession stand is ahead of us. I already have them asking before we leave for practice if it will be open. We can pack as many snacks and drinks and junk as possible, but it never fails the concession stand is so much more exciting. And I'm tired of being asking a million times in every store "can I have...". The ice cream truck visits almost everynight and it's a battle everytime they hear the music. Truly we'd be broke if we handed them money everytime they ask

So what does all of this have to do with anything you ask? We, well mostly me, decided to start giving an allowance. I have created a page for every room and chore. In the pantry is a master copy of show does what on what days. We had a family meeting this week to discuss what this means. In order to earn your allowance the chores must be done before 5:00 each day, I will not remind you, and their is no negotiating..plain and simple.

This week went awesome! We've settled on $5 a week for the three oldest and our four year old will get $3 since the big kids and mom and dad help him. We have also had a few times lately where it has been necessary to have our oldest keep our youngest. I've had meetings at the school while daddy has been coaching. She is super excited about this responsibility and the fact that I've been slipping her a few extra bucks here and there. We also told them if they wanted all of the extra's (from the above list) it would come from their allowance.

I feel I have defintely gotten the deal out of this because they worked super hard keeping each other on track and checking to make sure they all did a good job. I have gone to bed at night with the laundry put away, bathrooms cleaned, and I'm not tripping over their toys...and I'm not the one doing it all for a change. I even had our 9 year old sone teaching our 7 year old son how to clean the toilet (which wasn't even part of the plan), and they were havign so much fun scrubbing with the long brush that they even did mom and dad's toilet. Are you kidding me? Fun cleaning toilets! I knwo the excitement will wear off as with anything new we introduece, but if they want money they'll do it. This is also saving me money and havign to say no. I won't be shoveling out all my ones and change at the concession stand or ice cream man (which by the way costs us at least $10-$15 everytime we purchase either from the ice cream man or concession stand. And when you you have 3-4 games a week this adds up quick.

The two oldest boys even got up a few minutes early this week to help make breakfast and pack their lunches. I have two kitchen helpers everyday, but they have taken it an extra step and even helped in the morning and when it wasn't even their day.

I am so excited and can't wait for little monkey to clean up after himself. Then I've got it made.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Riding in cars with boys (and a girl)

The conversation went something like this...
Friend - "The trip was fun, but the car ride was insain. Three kids arguing most of the way. We finally broke down and got all of them seperate portable DVD's b/c the one we have mounted could never be agreed upon what they would watch. I don't know how you do it with five. Thank goodness for DVD's in the car right? hahaha."

Me - "DVD's? We don't have a DVD player in our van."

Friend - "What? Are you crazy? You don't travel?"

Me - "We do travel. We travel to Florida several times a year to visit hubby's family, go the beach, and Orlando. Several times a year actually and usually 8-10 hour drives."

Friend - "I don't understand."

Me - "We didn't have TV's in our cars when we were kids. Didn't you travel?"

Friend - "Well yeah but my kids would drive me crazy if we didn't have all their electronics with us."

Me - "I think this is the best time to bond as a family. We really get to know a lot about each other being stuck in a car for 10 hours. We play games, bingo w/ signs and landmarks, talk, read, I Spy, we write down all the places that we see on lisence plates... It's really a lot of fun. They do have gameboys, I-Pods, and my mom just recently bought them portable DVD players but I have found they really enjoy telling me stories and things that they don't normally get to talk about with our busy lives. They use these things after we've been in the car for hours and they get tired. The last trip we took they had the DVD players in boxes in the back and never even took them out. They ended up using them in the hotel and all watch the same one. They write stories about adventures we will have on our trip and write down things that have already happened. It's nice to look back and have the memories on paper."

Friend - "Oh that's too much kid time for me. I like my own music or sleeping."

Me wondering to myself..."Why do you have kids? Don't you even want to know them?"'

Several times a year we travel. I even travel by myself with no husband to be an extra driver and negotiator. And guess what? We make it all in once piece everytime. It's amazing to me that people even have their kids watch TV on the way to the store which could be a 5 minute drive. And people wonder why their children struggle in school with focus or lack there of. Or why they didn't know their child was being bullied at school, or that they are the bully. Talk to your kids people. Get to know them!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Worldess Wednesday

I think they are looking to escape and run away like I want to some days. It's hard being tied down in the house all the time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Menu Monday

I've been busy this weekend, like that's something different , but I am going to take a minute to put our menu up this week and try to get in a couple of other posts.

Publix was having some major sales on their organic section this week and I think I bought out the whole aisle.

This weekend I made a homemade spaghetti sauce. So Saturday we have spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and garlic bread. I was able to freeze 6 more containers of sauce for a later date and some to send to my mom.

Sunday - I made Crockpot Mexican Chicken (recipe found over at Steph's) .I had organic tortilla chips and brown rice with it.

Monday- Tonight I made individual English Muffin pizzas using my homemade sauce and adding 6 cheese Italian cheese and served w/ strawberries (I then set up the little picnic table outside and the four boys headed out there for dinner. Simple clean-up it was great!)

Tuesday - Chicken Strombolli w/ spinach

Wednesday - Pasta w/ ground beef and cheddar cheese (similar to Hamburger Helper 4 Cheese but I make mine w/ organic wheat pasta and very lean organic beef)

Thursday - Baked Ziti or Chicken Parmesan (with my homemade sauce)

Friday - Daddy's not home...something fast and super easy! Whatever is left in the pantry and any fruit or veggies that need to be eaten.

Hope you find something you like to spice up your weekly menu.

What are you eating this week?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Sometimes I look at him and cry and think "I can't believe I am so blessed." Sometimes I love them all so much I think it actually hurts...and makes me cry...but really in a good way.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Me Monday

Ahhh Monday...what a day you have been.

Today I am totally Not having one of those days that I do Not want to be a mom or wife. I am always on my "A" game and always love getting up early get my day started. I am Not considering letting the kids and hubby fend for themselves b/c I do Not want to cook dinner. I Love cooking everyday so I would never consider letting them eat cereal or whatever they can find that is edible.

I started back last week writing down everything I eat and worked out everyday. And this weekend I totally did Not blow it by eating out twice and then having friends over for which I made yummy food. This morning I did Not weight myself only to find out I had gained back the two pounds that I lost last week. I then did Not get completely discouraged and eat all of my calories for the day before noon. I would never do that. And the crazy part is...I am totally Not trying to convince myself that I need to get my fat butt to the gym...because I would Never need to motivate myself I truly enjoy working out and eating healthy.

I am also Not trying to convince myself that it is okay I am 20 pounds over what I should weigh. I would Never tell myself it doens't matter b/c my hubby says I look great and people tell me all the time they can't believe I have 5 kids. But I totally am Not buying it!
And I totally did Not just bribe my 7 year old to please stay outside with the baby just 5 more minutes so I could type in way...Not Me! I love the little guy climbing all over me and stealing the mouse and banging on the keyboard making lots of errors for me to correct.
Oh well...Tuesday will be here shortly.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Amazing Strength is helping me find my faith

This week I've been praying hard for a sweet family that lost their baby girl. Katiehas shown such amazing strength and I admire her so much for being this way during her darkest hours. I can't even begin to imagine the loss of a child nor do I ever want to. Reading other peoples blogs has gotten me through some of my darkest hours and I am in admiration for their strength through such difficult situations. Nightly as we pray for StellanI think about how I have never known God as well as so many of these people. Reading their blogs about their children, strength, courage, and motivation to keep going through some of the hardest times has really brought me closer in my faith for sure. I have begun reading "A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life". It is written by Proverbs 31 ministries women...Lysa Terkeurst and Sharon Jaynes. I am learning so much about myself and my faith.

I was not brought up in the church. I was baptized into the Methodist Church as a baby, but did not attend regularly as a child. Christmas Eve and sometimes Easter and to Sunday School occasionally with friends was my only experience in getting to know God. We said bedtime prayers but never took it beyond that. As I got older and had my first child I wanted to get to know more about religion and who this God was that was guiding me through this world. I took my daughter for a few years when I was a single mother. But when I remarried, my husband is not a religious person so it was hard to motivate myself to go when he was sleeping in. After each one of the children was born I would begin to go back to church and saw amazing things happening in our lives. But as they get older and schedules get more hectic we always find a reason to not attend regulary. After all of this praying I've done lately for other peoples children my own have begun asking me "when are we going back to church?" I always wanted my children to know God and I have always yearned to know him more myself. So, through reading this book and so many others I have lined up I am feeling more "in tune" and feeling so fulfilled with knowing Him. I have a lot of reading to do to "catch up" so if you have any other book recommendations I would welcome them. I am so happy with the way my life is going and so happy I am getting to know God and His Son.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

No Menu...No Not Me Monday...and it's already Tuesday

Boy I better get it together! This week is passing me by and I have yet to do two of my favorite days. I love having my menus planned and I love venting about things I "haven't" done. But this week has already been so hectic. After 5 kids and crazy schedules my time management is falling apart. You'd think as many years as I've been doing this we could get it together, but ever since little Monkey was born I can't seem to get it all together. The laundry, the bills, the cleaning, the paperwork, daycare things...all of it seems to be lacking. Things are paid late b/c I'm scatter brained and can't seem to sit down to focus to send them or pay them online. The kids don't have things cleaned or their clothes are piling over in the laundry basket. Closets are stuffed to the brim b/c I keep putting "stuff" in them so the house doesn't seem so cluttered. Once upon a time things were organized. I could sell clothes and items we didn't use anymore on Ebay and have extra money in our PayPal. But right now the bins are overflowing and can't get the pics. loaded or items listed. The laundry baskets are overflowing and so are the husband says "Do they even wear all of these clothes?" I am a clothes hoarder I think. If it's on sale and super cute I can't resist. I just think my kids look so cute in them. When I was growing up we didn't shop much at all. Maybe at the beginning of the school year, and I didn't wear clothes from the stores "the rich kids" were shopping at. So now that I have kids I think I am trying to make up for what I didn't have and really want them to fit in and be accepted by their peers. That sounds like I need some sort of therapy or something, but I can't resist cute clothes for them. I don't do this for myself...mostly b/c I hate trying clothes on especially when I'm holding on to 25 extra pounds from all these pregnancies or so I think. I hear the average woman wears a size 10-12. Well I'm not there but I've always been unhappy with my body so I always think I need to lose weight and then I'll go shopping. Hmph another thing I've let go of lately. A good workout! The days just seem to come and go and the list gets longer and longer. I'm afraid if I don't get it all together I'm not going to be living a very fun life b/c I'm so worried about what I haven't done and what needs to be done.
I was very motivated this weekend and into yesterday. Cleaned the house, cleaned out things we weren't using (in one room anyway), laundry was going well...but then T-man came home from school with homework, 2 projects, and other work he wasn't able to complete in class. Well after spending 3 1/2 hours with him begging, pleading, bribing with him we still weren't finished after dinner and I was too spent to help anymore let alone do anything else around here. I'm praying he gets his act together this year or it's going to be very long. I have the kids I've always dreading having in class. He's slow, distracted easily, can find anything else to do except what he should be doing, gets easily frustrated and overwhelmed. My first priority is to make sure he's taken care of and has a good education so he can eventually move on in life...although he has informed that education is not nearly as important as I say it is because his wife will have a good job. Of crap where did I go wrong?

Okay I guess I'm just having one of those oh woe is me days. Back to making a list and getting it all checked off. One more cup of coffee and here I go! Sometimes I need to just look at all their sweet faces to remember why I'm doing all of this!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Things I've done today...

Made breakfast-twice- once for my oldest 3 heading off to school, and once for the daycare kids and my youngest 2, got the 3 kids off to school and then the fun began. I had a few yummy cups of coffee and toaster strudels pretending I was at a chic' coffee shop. Then danced to some old 90's tunes and played follow the leader. Together we built a tower of blocks for the little guys to knock over. Headed outside early before the heat was too much to bear and played w/ the parachute and pretended to be a scary monster and chased the young ones around screaming. I've colored several letter A's and discussed the color red and number 1. We've played many counting games and have read several books. I taught my 4 year old to finally cut in a straight line along w/ his little "school" buddies. We made lunch together and sat down to toast our glasses of milk. They are all sleeping soundly now...and in order for me to not fall asleep I am blogging and catching up on the things going on in the world.

But the things I have not done today...anything involving cleaning or laundry. The worst thing I've done today is change several diapers, but as for "housework" I have decided it was so much more important to really have fun. Besides will the kids even notice that the floors are dirty and the laundry is piling up? Probably not, but they will ask again if we can play freeze tag and search for bears with our flashlights.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tough Decisions

Now that these sweet kids have started back to school I find myself wishing I could go off to work too. Get out of the house, dress up a little, feel like a real woman instead of a blah mommy in her sweats covered in smashed food and snot. Maybe even talk to real adults about real things going on in the world not just who The Wonder Pets had to save today or why jumping on the couch could lead to a head concussion or why that particular crayon drawing on the wall might not match the rest of the decor. I'd love to go to lunch and eat something like Thai food and discuss the newest whatever instead of grilled cheese and tomato soup and saying "please sit in your chair...and stop feeding the dog".

And once upon a time I had cute trendy clothes like this little princess. Of course not when I was her age b/c dressing like a boy was more my style. Looking back it's no wonder that cute boy I lusted over didn't pay much attention to me...I dressed just like him. Anyway, somewhere along the way I decided that putting a little more into myself wasn't so bad. I used to go to work and people told me I looked nice. My husband especially would make very nice comments about how I looked. Now those clothes hang in that back of the closet probably wondering if I can even get my body into them. I'm lucky if I even shower by noon...and of course it's never alone so sometimes only one leg gets shaved before I'm jumping out trying to keep the baby out of the toilet. Ahh what it must be like to shower alone or even pee in peace.

But then after all that day dreaming I think of all that I would miss. This adorable face would be awfully hard to drop off at daycare (especially since I can't find one that I have felt would give my kids the kind of attention that I would).

And teaching this little man all of his beginning educational needs. His art skills, letters, colors, etc. etc.

Or making butterscotch krispies in the middle of the day just because I want to. And my little man would be lacking all of his baking skills and getting to be the taste tester.

And the dancing...oh how we love to sing and dance all over the house.

And I'd miss the excitement of building "forts" and hiding in them. The reading time, searching for bears with flashlights, building block towers for Diego and his friends would all have to hold off for when we have the time.

I would have to fit these little moments in on the weekend along with the laundry, paying bills, scrubbing floors and toilets, grocery shopping etc. etc.

So for now I'll enjoy my comfy clothes and baby spit up. Someday when they're grown and have their own interests maybe then I'll figure out a career and head off to work. My time for now is here enjoying another cup of coffee and singing one more round of The Wheels on the Bus.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Meal Plans for the Week

Lists made, coupons clipped and organized, shopping finished, pantry, freezer and fridge fully stocked and ready for the week. Our kitchen is over flowing with all the great advantage buys I found this week. With school starting back tomorrow we needed to stock for everything. This week I spent $216 and saved $120 something...and with all that I bought I probably won't need to shop next week except for fruit, veggies, milk, bread, and deli meats. I can't believe all of the things I was able to get this week.

Anyway, I'll start with Saturday b/c I made a really yummy meal last night and we have made a plan to not eat out for the next month. I have also added that everytime we want to go out we will put the cash we would have spent into a jar and at the end of the month see how much we saved. I'd like to use what we save over the next 2 months toward a vacation in September. And maybe one day we'll go out on a date alone...without children...although me may talk about them the whole time and miss them so much we'll come home early.

Saturday- Lasagana (made w/ sausage and added finely chopped veggies)and cream cheese garlic bread

Sunday- Shephard's Pie and green beans (made w/ bbq pork)

Monday - Turkey Stromboli, spinach, and strawberries

Tuesday - hamburgers/hot dogs, mac n cheese, fruit salad

Wednesday - Terriyaki chicken, fried rice, steamed veggies

Thursday - Baked Ziti, salad, and cheese garlic bread

Friday - Grilled chicken, broccoli, and what ever fruit is left over from the week.

I have several desserts to be made as well - strawberry shortcake, brownies, pnut butter cookies w/ Hershey Kisses, and several flavors of ice cream.

Time to bathe and get little ones to starts tomorrow!