Weekly Menu 11/4–11/8

Happy November!  I am so excited this time of year.  I want to cook and nest and snuggle with my family.  I want to bust out the Christmas decorations already, but I won’t.  I’ll find other ways to decorate. 

After completing the 31 Days challenge, I am happy to get back to my normal routine.  But I loved every minute of my 31 days and feel so much better for doing it.

Many of the items on this weeks menu are from a cookbook my daughter brought home from her school book fair. It is the Disney Princess Cookbook and is also available through Amazon.  Hopefully this will inspire my little princess to eat more than just pizza and tacos.  And it will get her into the kitchen!  She loves to help me cook, but this time I can let her take the lead!

So, without further adieu, here it the weekly menu.

Monday – Spiral Cut Ham, Tiana’s Southern Spoonbread (pg. 77) and Green Beans

Tuesday – Ham and Cheese Biscuit Braids (pg. 37) with Carrots and Ranch

Wednesday – Crock Pot Taco Soup (based on this recipe with my own changes)

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Thursday – Unbearably Delicious Fish Cakes (pg. 62) and Tossed Salad

Friday – Steak Au Poivre – I like Alton Brown’s recipe the best.

Picture of Steak au Poivre Recipe

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Day 25–Art Files

Don’t you just love it when your children come home with a backpack full of artwork they did at school?  They are bursting with pride and can’t wait to show you all of their special creations.  The difficult part is that all of them are precious and can’t be thrown out.  And must be pulled out at a moments notice so you can prove that you didn’t throw them away. 

If I didn’t create a system for corralling all of this artwork it would be taking over my house.  So I created Art Files.  They stay in a hall closet (more on that closet soon) that is easily accessible, they stack on top of one another and they hold all of the important artwork and school work.

I bought 2 stackable cubes from Target for about $3 each.  I bought hanging file folders from Staples.

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I put their names in stickers on the front of each bin.  And labeled each folder with the month of the school year.

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Viola!  They easily stack into a corner of the hall closet.  I pop stuff in there that needs to be kept and can retrieve at a moments notice, like a good mom!

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Day 24: More Keys to Getting It Together

I have discovered some more key elements.  Mostly because this is how I have been derailed from my project.  But each time I have a set-back, I learn.  That is life.

7.  Get Plenty of Sleep – When you are tired,  you can’t get anything done.  When the whole family is tired, it’s a disaster!  Things are left undone, everyone is cranky, important events are forgotten.  Seriously, sleep is sooooo important!

8.  Enlist the Entire Family – Chore charts are back!  The kids have to chip in.  When the spouse looks at you and asks why the house is a disaster, hand him a list of stuff to do that will help.  If even one person isn’t on board with keeping it together, the whole thing will fall apart.

Day 12: The Playroom

When we moved in, Prince Charming and I agreed that we needed to gain some storage in the playroom.  It was just a long room with attic storage at the end.  We needed shelving.  And cabinetry.  Places to hide toys.  You know, junk storage. 

This is the room we started with:

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This is what was behind door number 1:

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So I had the great idea to recess the book cases into the eaves in the attic.  We weren’t going to be using them for storage.  And this also meant that we wouldn’t lose any usable square footage in the playroom!

So I sent my fabulous carpenter this sketch:

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And he could actually read it!  So he came over and did this:

 

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(Yerif Marin with YGM Xtrim Carpentry)

So I got busy choosing colors:

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And then he built these:

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Pretty awesome, huh?!  Now my children have a room to be kids.  They can relax and read or create or just play.  No TV yet.  They don’t need it.

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And our toys and books have a nice neat place to reside.  (More to come on organizing toys!)

Wall color is Sherwin Williams North Star

Day 5: The Planner

We have a very busy schedule.  Our family consists of 2 children, mom, dad, 1 dog, 2 cats and 1 fish.  Prince Charming travels for his job.  Both kids are athletic and outgoing.  The dog has waaay too much energy without a daily run.  I chose to give up my career and stay at home so that I could be involved at school, and cook, and clean, and decorate.  Unfortunately, all of this creates the perfect storm for the family calendar.  I constantly feel like a wreck – am I forgetting something?  Do I have everything?  And I always feel like I’m in a rush.  And a drill sergeant herding cats. 

Funny Family Ecard: No matter how much you love your children, sometimes you need a break to collect yourself.

I forget things frequently.  I have missed haircuts, dentist appointments and almost a ballet recital.  We have been late for practices and rehearsals.  I struggle with keeping a calendar.  You can’t always rely on Microsoft Outlook because you can’t stuff your computer in your purse.  And you can’t always rely on your phone because, if you’re like me, every time Apple releases an update (which is like every week!) your phone doesn’t work right for a month!  Paper and pencil planners are soooo out.  Or are they?  So here is what I decided to do.  I use it all!

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I use my phone to input quick items – doctors appointments while I’m at the checkout desk, playdates after I hang up the phone with the other mom, etc.  My Outlook calendar is for big deal stuff – days off from school, big school events, birthdays, kids sports and lessons, trips, etc. 

I have decided to add to my repertoire of calendars.  I have created my own paper planner!  And it only cost about 6 bucks!  They are back in style, I have heard.

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In this I write down what is important.  Where I have to be and when.  I also have other tabs to help me stay organized.  There is a menu planning tab, blog planning tab, and project planning tab.  Also a weekly and monthly at a glance, daily to do list, a note pad and a pouch for keeping coupons. 

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I have chosen a really cute 3 ring binder to house my planner.  No need to pay $50 for some pretty planner that doesn’t have the exact tabs you want.  I chose the binder with the tabs that I wanted.  And everything I needed I found as a free printable on Pinterest.  Awesome!

I write everything in there in pencil because plans change.  But I have it all in one place.  Hopefully this will help tame the chaos.  I just want to get it together.  That’s what this 31 Days is all about for me!

Kitchen Confessional

I have had a lot of questions lately about my weekly menu.  I feel as though I need to come clean.  No, there aren’t any big secrets and no, I don’t make it up each week and then order pizza.  But there are some very valid questions that I need to address just so everyone knows my secrets. 

1.  Yes I do attempt to make all the meals that I plan.  The key word here is “attempt”.  Things come up.  That is life.  For example, this evening on the menu is seafood linguine.  Well, I’ll be making that tomorrow.  Tonight we have baseball practice and a family BBQ at school so the seafood will just have to wait. 

2.  I do not bake.  That is correct.  I don’t bake.  Actually, I loathe baking.  It is so high maintenance.  The eggs have to be a certain temperature, the butter has to be a certain temperature, the flour has to be sifted.  Ugh!  And all the measuring!

3.  My kids don’t eat my cooking.  You heard me.  My kids don’t eat my cooking.  Well, very little of it.  I’m still trying to figure out how I raised such unadventurous eaters.  If I could figure out how to smother everything in chocolate and make it taste good then I think they would eat it all!

4.  I go grocery shopping once a week.  It’s my Monday morning ritual.  I drop the kiddos at school and head to the store.  I will run out on a quick trip if we run out of something or if a recipe calls for something highly perishable, like seafood.  I make the weekly menu up on Sunday so that the grocery list is ready for Monday morning.

5.  I don’t follow recipes.  Usually, I read the recipe and then make the meal.  I tweak it as I see necessary.  I taste and add.  That’s why I love cooking.  You can take any recipe and make it your own.  It is also why you don’t see me writing many original recipes on this blog.  (But I have a goal to add more!)  I add or deduct this and that, then I forget to write it down.   

6. I truly love to cook!  It’s true!  Cooking makes me feel all cozy and motherly.  It’s how I show I care.  I make people soup when they are sick or a “freezer meal” if there is a family emergency.  I invite people over to try new things.  It’s fun for me and (I’ve been told) I’m pretty good at it. 

Girl Power Art

As I have been decorating my daughters room, I have found that I am very picky when it comes to art.  I like signs, things with words, meaningful words.  And for a little girl you can’t always put up Barbie (although I did), princesses and ballerinas.  I want my daughter to grow up feeling confident and being classy.  She isn’t in to sports, so the usual “girl power” stuff won’t work.  (Sorry, Nike!)  She is a dancer and an artist, a true performer in all ways.  And, of course, a girly girl.  Only dresses and skirts – every day!  She even wears faux pearls with her school uniform! 

 

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I started off with spray paint in the colors of her room.  Just the accent colors though, because her room is PURPLE!  I got some pre-cut mats and white frames from Hobby Lobby.

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I found some quotes that I liked and some cute girly silhouettes and made my own art using Microsoft Word.  All the clip art was free. 

Here are the quotes –

“Keep your head, heels and standards high!”

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous!” – Coco Chanel

“Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” – Winnie the Pooh

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Then I sprayed the frames and mats in varying colors.  Once they were dry, I set up shop at the kitchen table and just using scotch tape, I stuck my MS Word art to the back of the mats.

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I placed them in the frame and hung them up.  Viola!  I think the total project cost me $50 and took about 90 minutes (not including drying time). 

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I will share my daughters room in its totality when I’m done.  I have some other tricks up my sleeve!  Smile

I Dreamed an Organized Dream

Today is moving day!  I am surrounded by boxes and paper and chaos, but I am so happy!  I have been daydreaming about how the Chateau will come together.  I have some inspiration photos to share.  Perhaps by putting my dreams out there it will force me to follow through!

Let’s start with the kitchen…..

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My pantry is about the same size as this one and the same shape.  Right now it has the ugly wire racks in it.  Those will be changed very soon!

(picture from Martha Stewart)

Oh how I hope that I can keep my refrigerator organized enough so that I don’t find penicillin growing in the back!

 

(Image from Martha Stewart)

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I seriously love this kids bookcase.  Great organization for all the toys and gadgets. Plus, it can grow up with them.  Now what are the odds that they will actually put their toys away?

 

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I love this book shelf, too!  Books become art, even more so than they already are!

(Image from Real Simple)

The garage….. or the dumping ground of every house.  I am determined not to let it get that way!  It will be organized, even if it kills me.

Here are my organizational dreams, among other things.  It’s a place to start.  I will be unpacking slowly so that everything goes into its own space.  Wish me luck!