Life is more fun when you RAWR!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I-Spied it on Pinterest

This week I tried a new recipe spotted on Pinterest: grilled cabbage.
I'm not much of a cooked cabbage fan but this recipe had me at bacon.  It's low-carb and grilled so really, how could I miss?
I'm pretty happy that I gave this one a try.

The cabbage came out tender and the bacon, parm cheese and salt and pepper really made it lose some of that, well, soggy cabbage flavor.  It was absolutely delicious.

In the future I'll play around with different flavors of bacon and maybe even throw some apple slices in with an applewood-smoked bacon.  Rest assured, there will be plenty of opportunities to play since cabbage is often 88 cents for a whole head, you'd struggle to find a side dish that is healthier or more economical.

I give the grilled cabbage 3 pins!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Summer is here!  Can you believe it? If you're reading this then we're probably at the pool.  No, really, we try to just live there all summer.  When we get home I thrown dinner on the grill, get the kids and myself changed, have dinner then play a bit before bed.  Last week though, a grill-tastrophie.  Our old, much-loved, oft-used grill has said adieu and has gone to the grill-maker in the sky.  That means I have to actually cook dinners inside until our new grill arrives Thursday.  First world problems, huh?

So here's what we're going to have:

M: "Fried" chicken (low carb, pinterest recipe), salad, fries, corn on the cob
T: Tacos, rice, salad
W: Spaghetti Bake (I'll have an omelette)
Th: breakfast for dinner
F: Kebabs!!!!!
S: Mongolian Beef, rice, salad
Su: Burgers and fries

Have a great week!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I-Spied it on Pinterest

Pinterest is one of my favorite corners of the world wide web.  It's full of so many amazing ideas.  I may not come up with the ideas on my own but I sure can copy them!  Unfortunately there are many pins that aren't all they seem.  Sometimes a project looks easy when really it's a bear to do.  Or sometimes it's pinned as tasty when it's really nasty.  Or sometimes it's pinned as inexpensive but ends up only being cheap if you have a lot of expensive what-nots on hand.

I'm making it my mission to return and report on the ideas I've tried and rate them on a scale of:

1 Pin = don't bother
2 Pins = meh
3 Pins = Pretty cool project
4 Pins = How have I lived my life without this? 

While browsing this weekend I saw this cute idea.  On the last day of school take a picture of your kiddo holding a picture of themselves on the first day of school.

So now it's my turn to give it a go.
It took a few times but I'm pretty happy with what I came up with for the boys.

So clearly I am not a photographer.  There is a lot about both pictures that could be much much better.  What you can see is that my photography skills have improved since the first day of school, so progress is something I suppose.  I think I need to take one of those SLR classes or something.

I love seeing how much they've changed over 9 months.  It's especially evident in G's picture.  He's gone from preschooler to little boy so quickly.

This project is really easy to do and I'd say it's worth it.

I give it :

Monday, May 21, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

This is G's last week of preschool.  And by week I mean he goes Tuesday and Wednesday.  Then he's done.  He's a kindergartener.  Please excuse the wild eye you might see in me, my kindergarten nightmares started weeks ago.  He is beside himself excited for school though, so forward we press.
Swim team is in full swing now and he loves it.  Of course, he can only swim about 20% of the way across the pool right now - but that's true for all of the kids in his group.  I told him that all I hope for is that he swims just an inch farther tomorrow.

Here's what I'm planning for our dinners this week:

M: grilled chicken, grilled cabbage (pinterest recipe, will report), rice
T: Mongolian Beef, rice, cabbage salad
W: Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes, salad.  (I won't eat the potatoes)
Th: Spaghetti, garlic bread, corn, salad (I will eat salad with leftover chicken0
F: Breakfast for dinner
S: Carolyn kebabs, rice, salad,
Su: Burgers and fries.

What are you eating this week?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Summer Units

My awesome cousin Kim did "summer units" last year and since she is about the coolest Mom I know I've made her idea my summer project.
The gist of it is pick one theme for the week and spent a little time every day learning about the theme.  The activities can be as small as coloring a picture on the topic or as big as a huge trip to a museum or even a beach vacation.  It keeps the kids in learning mode and more importantly it keeps me from falling into "summer mode" where we just go to the pool come home, watch TV and do laundry then go back to the pool, come home, have dinner and go to bed.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with having a "chill" summer like that but I really want to be more proactive and do something sort of special.

Here are the units I've picked out:

Week of 5/28:  Time/Calendar
Week of 6/3:  All about Dad (his birthday is this week)
Week of 6/10:  All about Mom (my birthday is this week)
6/17: Music
6/24 Dinosaurs (visit to the NC Museum of Natural Science one day this week)
7/1 USA
7/8 Plants/Life cycle (we should be ready to harvest some veggies from our garden by now)
7/15 Mexico (Drew will be at the Mexico dig site this week)
7/22 Money
7/29 The Beach (tentative week at the beach.  We'll see)
8/5 Weather
8/12 Bugs
8/19 Electricity
8/26 Back to school

If you have any unit suggestions or activity ideas or links please comment!  I need all the ideas I can get.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Did you miss knowing what we eat every night?  I've missed writing about it.  During my blog-absence I did write weekly menus but in the last couple of weeks I've just gotten out of the habit and it shows.  We have weird, mis-matching food stuff around the house.  Enough to make a feast but not the right foods to make a dinner.  Know what I mean?  Enough of that.  I'm back to what works for me.  Menu planning.
Here's what we're having.
Tonight, for Mother's Day we're having Carolyn Kebabs per my request.  yum!!

Monday: Tacos, salad, rice
Tuesday: chicken, roasted broccoli, noodles, alfredo sauce
Wednesday: Fried chicken, salad, french fries, cauliflower
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: breakfast for dinner
Saturday:  Spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread, salad
Sunday: burgers and fries.

The tricky part about menu planning these days is that I'm not able to eat "processed carbs" in the way of bread, noodles, taco shells, french fries, or really even rice.  All of our dinners need to be complete with and without the starchy component.  The good news is:  when I eliminate those starches I feel amazing.  It's worth the expense and effort to keep those out of my system.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I'm back!

Happy Mother's Day to all of my Mom friends out there. 
I'm celebrating Mother's Day with a few cherished moments to clear my desk, catch up with email and, for the first time in more than five months, blog. 
How have I not done this since the New Year? 
No use looking back though, it's onward and upward.
I have so many crafty things to share, so many ideas and yes, I'm still menu planning though now I'm obsessed with doing a low-budget option.  I recently read a blog where the family spends $250 or less every month on groceries.  I'm embarrassed to say that we often spend twice that (or more!).  I need to reign in my costs while still focusing on whole foods and eating healthy. 

I do have a lot of ambitious goals for this summer.  We aren't going to be doing a lot of travelling, though it's likely we will go to the beach for a week.  G is on our local swim team which I'm very excited about.  We'll spend most of our summer mornings at the gym and pool.  His age group practices at 11am and my classes are either at 8:30 or 9:30 so we will head out early in the morning, pack a lunch and spend until probably 1 or so at the pool.  We will come home for most of the afternoon and work on a few things around here (more about that later) and then likely head back to the pool in the late afternoon or even after dinner.  Note to self: get the swimmer's ear vinegar mix ready to go!

So here are my summer goals:
  • Be active!  I want our TV to be on as little as possible
  • Learn! I have set up several weekly "units" for us to spend an hour or so on every day , allowing the kids a chance to explore and giving me the structure I need to actually make it happen.
  • Read every day.  G is still not a confident reader, while A is just about there.  I have the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Days" book and I'm hoping to have both boys reading independently by the end of the summer.
  • Write letters to our cousins/friends.  This gives the boys practice writing their letters and forming sentences.
  • Work in our garden.  I've planted tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, basil, pumpkins, dill and peppers.  
  • Get ahead on Christmas gifts.  I'd love to make as many of our gifts as possible and I'd love to knock out like 60% of them this summer.
  • Have our 72 hour kit/bug out bag complete.  Every family needs one.
  • Have our will complete.  I'm not the one dragging my feet on this.  We have a the lawyer, we know who we want to be guardians for the kids, now I just need to get the husband on board and to the lawyer's office so this can finally be done.
This is my last summer with G before he's off to Kindergarten and I really want to enjoy it, be as stress free as possible and be as screen free as possible.  Yes, I realise that blogging about being screen-free is a little oxymoronic but  I really would like to focus on happy, quality time with the 14 short weeks we have before school starts again.