August 19, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday August 19

Good morning everyone! Today is a beautiful day in New England! And it is my mother in-law's birthday and my grandmother's too. So happy birthday to two wonderful ladies. Thanks to Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for hosting this meme every week. Go and see her for lots of inspiration.

The Weather
Wonderful!!! It is 70 degrees with a high of 81 and 70 % humidity. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and it couldn't be more perfect. August has given us wonderful weather.

Right Now
My youngest is sitting next to me, working on his Algebra II summer packet. Before that he was working on his on-line Anatomy and Physiology class which he has to finish this summer as a prerequisite for AP Biology this year. My foster son is on the other side of him working on his Italian summer packet. They are both home from scout camp (finally) and getting things done. My daughter is in Rhode Island with her best friend, but trying to get ahold of her guidance counselor by phone to make changes in her schedule. The schedules came late this year thanks to the length of time it took to get the school budget passed. She has a lot of art electives and they didn't know which classes would make the cut. We are fortunate that my kids are starting school the day after Labor Day this year, so they have two weeks left of summer vacation. Most schools in our area are starting a week before.

How quickly time moves on. My daughter is now a high school senior and cannot wait to graduate and move on to college. She drives and is working part time. My oldest will be 20 at the end of the month. 20! My foster son needs to get his learner's permit. My youngest is already taking AP classes in school. They grow up fast. It is sad, but it is also exciting watching their lives develop and take off.

On My Reading Pile
I read 1984, and am working on Sense and Sensibility, but I do not know if I will finish it. My reading time is winding down. I never finished Howard's End, it just wasn't my cup of tea. 

On My TV
Oh boy, I am in trouble. I started watching Friday Night Lights and love it, but there are five seasons! My kids are surprised that I like a "teen show", but what they don't realize is that I am interested in the dynamics of the coach and his wife. Now you know why I have slowed down in my reading though.

We also watched Cinderella Man, one of our last Netflix dvds. My father in-law remembers the fighters that the movie was based on.

What I Found While Surfing the Net
I don't have a specific link but I was able to deal with a fruit fly problem thanks to the internet. I have never had that problem before, but this year we suddenly had a bunch of them. I had to throw out some onions in my pantry and toss a garbage can outside. I threw out my sponges because they were hanging around them as well. I bought some cheap ziploc style bags, and starting putting my food garbage in them before throwing it away (I do not have a garbage disposal). Once I got rid of all of their attractions, I poured some apple cider vinegar in a cup with a few drops of Dawn dish soap. (That is what I learned on the internet.) In a couple of days I had a cup full of dead fruit flies and none flying around my house. Just yesterday I saw one fly. I put out the vinegar concoction again and in about an hour's time, it was lying in the bottom of the cup.

On the Menu This Week
Monday pasta with meat sauce, salad
Tuesday taco casserole with chicken, corn
Wednesday dinner at the mall: back to school shopping with my boys, leftover chicken soup for hubby
Thursday chili, rice, broccoli salad
Friday changing my shopping days to Fridays so that's as far as my menu goes for this week

On My To Do List
One load of sheets, one load of towels, school supply shopping at Walmart, a few groceries, returns. The boys have to finish putting their camp things away and go through their clothes to see what they need for school. Tuesday is house cleaning (DCF inspection on Wednesday), and a probable trip to the school to meet with my daughter's guidance counselor since she has not been successful at getting him on the phone so far. Thursday we head to our new host's house to set up our seminary classroom. We have to move furniture out and set up tables etc. Friday I get together with my co-teacher to go through some lessons.

Looking Forward to This Week
Mall day with the boys.

Looking Around the House
It's a bit messier now that the boys are home, but it will not take long to clean up. Real cleaning will happen tomorrow. Too many errands today.

From the Camera
My youngest doing his summer schoolwork.

On My Prayer List
My kids, especially my oldest.

Bible Verse
I will not type the content here, but I will share with you my favorite Bible passage:

Isaiah 53

I don't think anything explains Christ's atonement more beautifully.

Have a wonderful week!

August 9, 2013

Yummy Taco Casserole

If I put yummy in the title then you know I really liked it.

I was trying to use up stuff. We had three open bags of tortilla chips in our pantry, a partially used tomato, three open jars of salsa, plus two large open bags of shredded cheddar cheese in our fridge.

So I bought @ 2 pounds ground beef (a little less) and a head of iceberg lettuce.

I cooked the beef with the contents of two of the salsa jars (and I will ONLY use powdered taco mix again if we are surviving on food storage only), heated a can of refried beans, cut up half of the head of lettuce and the  leftover tomato, oh, and opened a can of sliced black olives.

Then I layered a large roasting pan with the refried beans (heated first in the microwave for about a minute to make them easier to spread), most of the ground beef mixture, olives, tomato, some tortilla chips, then lots of cheese.

Baked in the oven at 350 for, maybe 10 minutes, just to get the cheese melted nicely.

At the table we added lettuce and more chips if we wanted.

It was really, really good.

No sour cream! The refried beans added enough creaminess.

I still have lots of salsa and chips and cheese, so next week I may cook some frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot with salsa and try it with the chicken.

The leftover meat was mixed with leftover rice and made a very yummy lunch the next two days.


A Tasty, Healthy, Simple (if there are leftovers) Lunch

note to self: ground beef and rice are a match made in heaven

taco meat (lean ground beef and salsa)
brown rice
a few black beans
heated and stirred together

chilled cooked broccoli
slice tomatoes
italian dressing

a big glass of ice cold water

A Tasty, Healthy, Simple Breakfast

 6 strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup blueberries
4 large spoonfuls vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup Fiber One cereal
ice cold water to drink

August 5, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday August 5

Good morning everyone! It is a beautiful, cool summer day here in New England! I got a decent night's sleep, have my menu for the week completed, and am ready to go! See Sandra at Diary of a Stay-at-Home Mom for more Happy Homemaker Monday posts!

The Weather
Perfect for me. It is currently 61 degrees with a high of 76 and sunny, all day. The humidity is at a good level and the air feels wonderful. The extended forecasts do not show temperatures higher than 79, so we have nice, comfortable weather ahead too. We might as well close up the pool though.

Right Now
The first alarm goes off at 5:45 to make sure our oldest is up (which he never is) and getting ready for work. Once the second alarm goes off for my husband I am awake for the day. Usually I lay in bed with my Kindle, but today I got up and came downstairs and saw my husband off to work. My daughter is still upstairs asleep, but she has vowed to go to the library today with her friend to work on their summer schoolwork, so she will be getting up soon. The dog is sleeping downstairs, as usual, and who knows where the cat is. My other two sons are back at scout camp. Have I told you how little laundry I do when they are away?! It has been wonderful. When they come home on Saturday afternoons they have to do their own laundry. (I think I'll keep that tradition going when they get home.)

about how the summer is winding down. I have been trying to enjoy and appreciate the slower paced days, the easier dinners, the lesser amounts of laundry, and the quiet! It is so quiet here with almost everyone gone. Saturday night when everyone was around I was having difficulty with the numerous conversations going on at the same time. I am in for a big adjustment come the end of August!

Also thinking about college. My daughter and husband went to Boston yesterday to look at some schools. The expense is overwhelming but the possibilities for my daughter are exciting!

On My Reading Pile
I finished Catcher in the Rye and am now reading Howard's End. I have The Fountainhead from the library but I may not read it this year - it is pretty big and I am running out of time! I may stick to smaller novels so that I can read more of them. Next may be 1984?

On My TV
Not much! I watched the first half of Oliver the musical from 1968, so the second half is waiting. Also have Sense and Sensibility. I cancelled our DVD subscription, so we have until the 19th to rent movies. Next up are the National Treasure movies. We have seen them before but my kids love them, they love history.

What I Found While Surfing the Net
I have been obsessed with booklists. After reading a couple of books that have been popular but unfulfilling, I have decided to stick with those that have withstood the test of time. Here is the latest list I have been perusing:

110 Best Books: The Perfect Library

Now you see where my choice of reading 1984 has come from (plus it is on my daughter's reading list and I like to read some of what they are studying during the school year).

On The Menu for This Week

Monday chicken legs, baked beans, chopped salad, zucchini 
Tuesday london broil, baked potatoes, broccoli, salad
Wednesday taco salad, corn on the cob
Thursday shredded bbq chicken, macaroni salad
Friday lasagna, salad
Saturday no plan, do not know who will be home
Sunday grilled salmon, coleslaw, rice, green beans

On My To Do List
One load of laundry, dust and vacuum main floor, pick up a few groceries

Looking Forward to This Week
Lunch out today with my daughter, mom, and sister!

Looking Around the House
Just a few things to put away, but it looks pretty good.

From the Camera
My trusty water supply - as soon as I take one out of the fridge, I put another one in. Always afraid I am going to drop it though with the condensation on it.

On My Prayer List
My kids, husband, parents, girlfriend and her son.

Bible Verse
John 14:15:  "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

Enough said!

Have a great week!

August 1, 2013

Monthly Menu - August

Mon  chicken legs, baked beans, cucumbers, chopped salad
Tue   London broil, broccoli, salad, baked potatoes
Wed  taco salad, corn
Thu  shredded bbq chicken, macaroni salad
Fri  lasagna, salad
Sun  grilled salmon, coleslaw, rice, green beans
Mon  lasagna, salad, bread
Tue  salmon, green beans, rice
Thu taco casserole