Menu Plan

What a wild 48 hours we’ve had! Thankfully, I had my menu planned out on Thursday evening, and I am able to fall back on that while we go into an unexpectedly busy week!

Breakfast

Eggs x 3

Cereal x 3

Pancakes

Lunch

Rice cooker mac and cheese

PB&J x 2

Leftovers x 3

Grilled Cheese

Dinner

Sloppy Joes

BBQ Pork and brown rice

Spinach Pesto Fusilli

Split Pea Soup

Homemade Pizza

Bacon brown rice risotto

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

So, nothing real exciting in our menu. Just extremely happy to have it planned out. Are you trying anything new on your menu this week? Would love to hear about it!

 

Recipe: Toads in a Hole

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Lily recently read the book Toads on Toasta cute book about a fox and toads. The fox tires of his normal meal of toads, and a mother toad is trying to save her baby toads from being eaten. She creates a ‘toads in the hole’ recipe that doesn’t include toads. The recipe is found at the end of the book, but I changed it a bit after failing with following their recipe. I had to toast our bread first, so the egg did not make the bread all soggy and then burn. Maybe it’s just me and my poor cooking skills, but toasting the bread first was the only way I could get this to work! It was a fun recipe and the kids liked seeing the end result. The egg cooked (with runny yolk) inside a piece of toast was just awesome to them! Next time, I think we’ll put some jelly on the little cut-out piece.:)

(Side note: ever since being pregnant with my second or third child, I cannot stomach eating a runny yolk. I have to break mine and cook it completely. I tried it with this recipe and it worked great! So, runny or cooked, the yolk works either way in this recipe.)

Toads in a Hole

1 piece of toast

cookie cutter (all I could find was my heart-shaped one real quick that morning!)

1 egg

two pinches Parmesan cheese

butter or lard or grease

  1. Cut out a hole/shape from the toast. Heat pan and melt a little butter or lard (we use saved bacon grease) on medium heat. Place toast on hot pan.
  2. Crack egg and carefully (like right over top the toast) pour out of shell into the toast hole. Add pinches of Parmesan cheese (if breaking your yolk, mixing the cheese into broken yolk is super yummy).
  3. Cook until egg sets well. Flip egg and toast over CAREFULLY to cook opposite side.
  4. Once cooked to your preference, Remove from pan onto plate. Serve with toast cut-out alongside. Yum!

Menu Plan

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I cannot believe it is May!! This year is flying by. This week we stay fairly busy, so I can keeping the menu simple but filling. Typically we eat Aldi’s Take & Bake for pizza night, but it costs $11 for 2 of them to feed us. That is a pretty good deal since they are extra-large sizes, but in an effort to save a little more $$, we will make our own pizzas this week. I did grab some easier lunch items for Arthur’s lunch and quick things for the kids and me – frozen pierogi’s, deli ham, and some frozen shoestring french fries (a treat!). AND, goldfish crackers were on sale at Meijer for $1 a bag (as part of a mix and match “when you buy 5” deal)…so we grabbed six bags for snacks! We usually just grab cheese crackers at Aldi, but the boys like the fish shapes so it was something different and cheap.:)

Breakfast

Breakfast Bake (new recipe for us)

Eggs x 2

Cereal x 2

Muffins

Pancakes

Toads in a Hole (Lily found this recipe in a book – it’s just an egg cooked in the hole of a piece of toast but a fun name!)

Lunch

Leftovers x 2

PB&J x 2

Pierogi’s

Buttered Noodles

Ham sandwiches

Dinner

BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Salad, Green Beans

Mac and Cheese, carrots and ranch, fruit

Homemade Pizzas

Chicken Broccoli Rice Bake, Salad

Spinach Pesto Fusilli, Cooked Carrots, Rolls

Bacon Brown Rice Risotto, Green Beans, Carrots and ranch

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Salad, Apple Slices

Snacks

Smoothies

Fruit

Brownies

Apples and PB/Nutella

 

 

Rice Cooker Mac and Cheese??

We love, LOVE, LOVE macaroni and cheese! But when you have to feed seven people (one of which is a runner that seems to have an endless pit for a stomach!), it makes it ridiculously hard to keep it on hand. And then, when you try to eat healthy…that kinda means you shouldn’t be buying the fake boxed stuff at the store, even if you have a serious love for it. Sure, there’s the organic kind and they have sales to acquire them pretty inexpensively. But, let’s face it – it is still not really healthy because it has additives and preservatives to keep it shelf stable. For us, eating “healthy” means getting away from boxed stuff – we’re not 100% on top of that, but we avoid the boxes if we can find a homemade alternative.

Anywho, back to my point: We LOVE mac and cheese. I have been making our mac and cheese homemade for the past few months – elbow macaroni and then a roux made into a cheesy sauce. Yum! We mix of the different types of cheeses to find new, yummy flavors. I am not very knowledgeable about cheeses, so we just wing it and make up some combos. Our favorite for grilled cheese sandwiches is gouda and havarti; our favorite for mac and cheese is gouda, havarti and white cheddar. Mmmmm. And sometimes, if I make it a mac and cheese casserole, I throw some cream cheese in the sauce, too, to keep it super creamy.

About a week or so ago, I received an email from a blog I follow, Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures. (I know I have talked about her recipes before, but I absolutely love her site/blog! She has so many delicious, family friendly recipes. And she has allergy-friendly options and gluten-free options, as well.) The email was about her post on Mac and Cheese made in the rice cooker. ?!? At first, I was thinking “oh how dry that must be!” but after I read the post and saw her pictures, I decided to give it a try. It was so incredibly delicious – I have made it about 3 times since I read the email.:) It is the perfect recipe for an easy, quick lunch because the rice cooker does all the pasta cooking for you. There’s no stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick or boil over or anything! I love it. AND, because you cook the pasta in chicken broth…it gives it some extra yummy flavor! Then we add in our delicious cheese combos and it becomes an amazing, deliciously simple meal.

So, here’s how I did it (mine is 1.5 times her original recipe because we eat so much, but her recipe is perfect if your family isn’t quite as big as ours!):

3 cups elbow macaroni

21 ounces chicken broth

1 cup plus 2 TBSP milk

3 cups shredded cheese (I have been using a combo of gouda and white cheddar)

  1. add macaroni and broth to rice cooker and cook!
  2. When rice cooker finishes, remove lid and add in milk and cheese, stirring til cheese is melted. Place lid back on and let warm for 5 minutes or so. Turn off cooker and serve!

Some things you can add in: bacon crumbles, ham pieces, shredded chicken, ground beef and tomatoes (for a “cheeseburger” type of mac and cheese) or anything else that sounds yummy!

Have you tried mac and cheese in the rice cooker? Was it fantastic or a flop?? Please share!

Goodbyes

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We say goodbye a lot in life:

Goodbye to loved ones gone way too soon.

Goodbye to loved ones we’ve had for a long time.

Goodbye to friends that move away.

Goodbye to TV shows we binge watch on Netflix and then feel so alone when it’s over. (I never do this, by the way….:) )

Goodbyes to work friends when we move on to staying home with our kiddos.

Goodbye to a home when we move.

Goodbye to bad habits we kick.

Goodbye to our sin when Jesus saves us by His grace.

But I feel like there is one thing we forget to say “goodbye” to. We don’t always consider the need to say Adios because we don’t always pay attention to their presence.

Expectations.

We all have them – for everything and everyone.

We expect friends to always be loyal. We expect family to always be around (thankfully, mine always has been…but I realize that isn’t always the case for others).

We expect the coffeemaker to start brewing at 5:00AM like we set it (or maybe thought we set it to 5:00AM but actually set it PM!).

We expect to finish our checklist, our kids to behave, our husbands to come home, and so on.

 

One thing I have never really considered was how “goodbye” and “expectations” can go together. As in, saying goodbye to our expectations.

 

I have been reading A LOT about children and personalities and homeschooling and love languages. After all my reading, I feel like I had no clue who my kids were until recently!😉 One thing that consistently jumped out at me from all those books was that parents have expectations…from the time they find out they are having a baby! I kept thinking “no, I didn’t have any. I just was excited to have a baby!” And then I started thinking about how many expectations I had.

I expected to have a smooth pregnancy and easy delivery. I expected the baby to breastfeed and do it well from the get-go. I expected each baby to sleep through the night in the first few months (you’d think I would have let go of that one after my second loved-to-nurse-all-night baby, but nope!). I expected them to self-soothe. I expected them all to potty train when I was ready tired of diapers. I expected them all to listen to Mom and “obey right away.” I expected them all to love school and learning and books and listening to Mom for lessons and excel in every single subject. I expected them to learn a certain way, to receive love a certain way, to give love a certain way, to respond to things a certain way, etc.

The reality was I had a TON of expectations. And I do not think one of them was realistic…at all. They were lovely dreams, but I made them into goals and obsessions and then disappointments. And I became an angry mom. None of the kids behaved. None were doing well in school. None cleaned their rooms well. None of them listened to a single thing I said. None of them brought me joy. (yikes! yep, I said it.)

Just being honest here…

Everything I expected of them became exactly who I thought they should be or what they should be doing, and I started letting my emotions lead. I was just angry that they weren’t who I thought they should be. People at church or family or friends would speak highly of my kids, but I couldn’t see it. Oh sure, they behave in public. But have you seen their room that I asked them to clean 10 times? Or have you seen how poorly they listen at home??

I was totally missing the fact that it is not I who determine who my children will be. GOD created them and put in each of them a desire for Him – it is up to my children if they will follow His leading. It is up to HIM who they will be. And whether or not they met my expectations was totally irrelevant. (“The only thing our kids need to know is to follow hard after Christ. Who cares if they go to Harvard if they are going to Hell.” – Shelene Bryan)

“God uses children not because of who their parents are but IN SPITE OF who their parents are.” I laughed when I heard that. It isn’t me that determines how effective my children will be for the Lord. God uses them in spite of me and my ridiculous expectations! Of course, I should be leading them to God by way of my parenting but ultimately their effectiveness for Him is not because of anything I have done. That is all God!

Unfortunately, I had gotten a big head and assumed I was responsible for my kids’ failures or for them excelling spiritually.

Don’t get me wrong – I have a HUGE responsibility as a parent to “Train up a child in the way he should go…” (Proverbs 22:6)! BUT, I am not the one who determines the outcome. I am not responsible to get my kids to obey every word that comes out of mouth. I mean, have you heard some of my demands?? They can be quite ridiculous! It isn’t ME I am teaching them to ultimately obey – it is God! I don’t think God has ever told me to “just be quiet for a minute, I need to post this response!!”😉

I have been learning to SAY GOODBYE TO EXPECTATIONS. In the end, my expectations are what ruin me. My expectations aren’t godly (they could be, but most of mine are not). My expectations rob me of my joy. They put a barrier between me and my kids. They give me anger toward my husband. They create a jealousy when I see other kids being more well-behaved. They bring massive disappointment when my expectations are not lived up to, when (really) it is impossible for my children to ever meet my expectations!

Saying goodbye is hard, but it is totally necessary. I cannot hold onto these ungodly expectations.

I cannot expect my kids to be the best in every subject.

I cannot even expect my kids to love schoolwork.

I cannot expect my kids to listen to every single word and obey every single time. They are sinful humans (we all are!). Do I listen every time? No. Do I obey right away every single time? No. I cannot expect children to do it if I, as a seasoned Christian, do not do it?!

I cannot set adult expectations on children. For example, I often expect my three-year old to carry his plate to the sink without dropping crumbs. Or for him to sit perfectly still at the dinner table while we all eat in silence. HAHA! Have you seen my husband and I eat?? He taps his foot on the floor, I am up out of my chair a million times, and we chatter on like little girls the whole meal!

So here I am, saying goodbye to my expectations. And saying hello to God’s will.

I can expect God to have His will. (“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11)

I can expect Him to guide us in our schooling choices, our parenting challenges, and in our desire to see our children come to know Him. ( “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go…” Psalm 32:8)

I can expect that I will ONLY find joy if I am seeking His will. (Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.” Psalm 119:111)

And just like that, I feel a million times lighter. (ok, not just like that….because in true Angie fashion, I have been trying to hold on to a few of my expectations. so, the joy is coming back, but only as quickly as I am willing to let go!)

I cannot control the future (“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NLT) – I can barely control how frizzy my hair is each day!

I cannot control my children’s every action – I am lucky if my three-year old gets his pants down far enough not to pee on the back of them!

I cannot control how well my kids hear – unless their ears are clogged with wax,… THAT I can get taken care of.

I cannot control everyone else’s mood – I can control how I react to situations, Who I trust with the situations, and my example to my children during the situations by not displaying anger all the time. (James 1:20ESV – “for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”)

 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 ESV)

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Psalm 145:18)

Just a couple of verses there that I have been remembering. I can control nothing EXCEPT whether or not I will rely on God.:)

Goodbye expectations! Hello God’s Will!

Menu Plan

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I am back to planning! We enjoyed a great 9 days off with Dad, but now that he is back at work…we are back to our work here – housework, schoolwork, meal work.😉 I have some easy and yummy meals planned to finish out our month. Yum!

Breakfast

Donuts – for Addy’s birthday!

Eggs and Potato Hash

Egg and Sausage burritos

Eggs, bacon, toast x 2

Baked Oatmeal

Bagels and cream cheese, fruit

Lunch

Leftovers x 2

Arby’s – Addy’s birthday (hopefully!)

Rice Cooker Mac and Cheese

PB&J x 3

Dinner

Chicken Broccoli Rice Bake, Carrots

Pasta e Cici, Salad

Potatoes Au Gratin, Green Beans, Salad

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Corn, Salad

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Tomato Soup

Mac and Cheese Casserole, Salad

Split Pea Soup, Rolls, Veggies and Ranch

Breakfast for Dinner – Addy’s Birthday

Have you planned out your meals for the week? Anything exciting planned??

Homemade FLOP!

I am often too prideful to admit when something I made did NOT work out.

Buuut, there is no getting around this flop…

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Do you see that clumpy NOT LIQUID mess right there?! That was dish soap. It started out as a liquid, but overnight it became a solid.

I followed the recipe perfectly…but didn’t read all the comments, which clearly showed that some people’s results were like mine. The recipe for this soap was simple but I guess the settling of it allowed the dry ingredients to absorb ALL the liquid as it sat. I added a little warm water and mixed it up again – worked great. Then, a few hours later when I came to use it again, it was solid. So, the cycle  began – mix in a little warm water and it goes back to liquid; let it sit and it goes back to solid…and repeat like TWENTY times a day! I kept telling myself I would use it and not waste the 16 ounces I whipped up, but the inconvenience became too much after like the second day. I didn’t have time to stand there and shake it back to liquid every single time I needed to use it.

So, I ditched it and grabbed a bottle of dish soap from Aldi.:) Ha! The complete opposite of the “natural” version I was trying to create, but what’s that saying….”ain’t nobody got time for that!”😉

I won’t say where I got the recipe because I don’t want to say her recipe was bad, but I know now to read all the comments on a post before assuming it is a perfect fit for me! It just seemed that more people had solids than liquid over time…so I won’t be trying that one again. And even though I wasted the 16 ounces (AND the bottle…because I couldn’t get it all out!), it really wasn’t much money spent on the ingredients. So, I feel ok about ditching it!

Do you make your own dish soap? Have a LIQUID recipe you could share with me??😉 Thanks!