Monday, January 30, 2012

Let's Get Packing - Step 3

While I know that most families do not have the amount of people to pack or clothes to wash that I do, there are still a couple of things a "smaller" family could do to make things easier.

First, check out the potential weather where you're going.  We are headed south which should mean warmer weather, so set aside some short sleeves and shorts for everyone.  Obviously, the same would go if we were heading north, except I'd be breaking out the winter attire!!

Next,  I know all of my children have those favorite outfits or pajamas that they love to wear and take everywhere they go.  Make sure you have those washed and set them aside as well.  I have a laundry basket designated for this job.  Then, when you get out the suitcases,  you have the "must have" outfits ready to pack.  There is no frantic searching the night before or morning of for that favorite tee or hoodie.  Once the outfits are set aside,  they are NOT to be touched.  I will admit I'm having a problem with that from Mini-Me.  That little girl would change clothes every hour if I let her.  As you do laundry, add the other outfits everyone wants to take.

Then, a couple days before departure,  get everyone completely packed up.  I'm sure everyone could survive a couple days without their entire wardrobe available to select from, well except maybe me, I don't have that many choices at the moment.  Now, you are 100% ready to go as far as the clothes go :)

 This is just the girls "must haves" I've set aside.  You can probably tell by the already unfolded items, that Mini-Me has struck again.  She got out her Dora pajamas to wear around and I had to take them from her, AGAIN!!!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Plan For the Week

Only two more days left in January!  I don't know why, but this month has gone by so quickly.  Maybe it's because of all the extra hours I've been picking up at work for some Florida money, who knows!!    This week is looking to be just as busy.  I've got an extra night of work penciled in again this week and I have plans to get all the kids clothes packed up.  That is a full time job itself; laundry, laundry, and more laundry:( 

I said all that to say this.  The plan is a week full of easy prep meals.

Sunday - Roast, potatoes, and carrots

Monday - hamburgers, green beans, homemade mac n' cheese

Tuesday - steak n' gravy, mashed potatoes, corn

Wednesday - homemade pizza

Thursday - grilled chicken, peas, roasted potatoes, crescent rolls

Friday - spaghetti

Saturday - Eating out :)

Hope everyone has a great week!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Earthquake Cake

I have recently become somewhat addicted to the Pinterest site.  I was browsing through today and came across this delicious looking cake.  Once again, my will power gave way and the cake was baked.  It was pretty good for a first try.  I learned a couple things and the next time I make it, I know it'll be BETTER.  But, I must say it was pretty good this time too.  Here's the site it came from.

Here's the ingredient list:
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Grease a 13X9 cake pan and sprinkle the coconut and chopped nuts on the bottom.  Then, mix the cake according to the directions.  Pour the cake mix over the coconut and nuts.

In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla with a hand mixer on low to medium-low until well blended (add the sugar about a half cup at a time to prevent a powder explosion). This mixture will look like thick cheesecake batter.

 Drop by spoonfuls over the chocolate cake batter, leaving at least a one-inch margin around the sides of the pan (this prevents the cheesecake from bubbling over).

 Weave a butter knife in an s-pattern through the batter to create a swirl, but be sure to not disturb the nuts and coconut — keep the knife very shallow. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

 This is where I made the mistake.  I swirled a little too much, putting the cream cheese mixture too deep in the cake.  It got a little soggy.

  But, as you can see, still edible.  They were into it before it was cooled and I got my picture.  It was pretty good!!  I wonder if I could divide the recipe and make two batches of "brownies"?  May have to try that.  I'll let you know, but not this week!!

53 Dollar Double Stroller

I love a good deal. Doesn't everyone? Hubby and I had been contemplating a double stroller purchase for our vacation to Florida.  We had one many years ago when the boys were little, but honestly, I don't know if I sold it or what happened to it.  We decided, it would be a very long day for Mini-Me and us if she didn't have a place to sit and rest.  So, I started looking.  Double strollers aren't cheap!  We had a few requirements and of course that raised the price.  We looked at the sit n' stand, but the seat didn't recline for baby Samuel and he will need to nap in it.  I found one online at Babies R Us for $149.99.  Not a bad price and it had everything we wanted: reclining seats, trays for both seats and a cup holder for me and hubby. 

 They had to test it out.

Here's where the deal comes in. I had a 20% off coupon that had to be used by today, so off we went.  I got to Babies R Us and the stroller was marked down to $109.99, already $40 off.  Add the 20% off coupon and now we're down to $87.99.  Now, I had a $10 dollar gift card from a previous formula purchase deal; down to $77.99.  The best part,  I am a Toys R Us rewards member, so everything you spend goes toward coupons and Toys R Us bucks.  As you can imagine, a lot of Christmas presents were purchased at Toys R Us this year, so I earned $50 in Toys R Us bucks (which can be used at Babies R Us).  They divided them up and my first $25 in bucks were redeemable this week.  That makes the final price.....................................................(there's that drum roll again:))...............................$52.99 before taxes.   I could not be happier.  I was dreading spending $150.00 of our vacation money on a stroller, but God provided this deal, at just the right time, and it's everything we said we needed.

So, once again, when people ask me, how do you afford everything???  My answer, God always provides exactly what we need, when we need it. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Slightly Surprised

It's Wednesday again. I have to admit, I was a little scared to step on the scales!  Like I told you in my last post, I have not done so well.  I could blame hubby for bringing me a large regular Pepsi from KFC, but I drank it (it was soooooo good).  I might even declare The Princess to blame.  She has taken to baking.  That girl has made chocolate chip cookies AND brownies. However, there again, I am the one who ate them.  I have NO will power.  NONE!!!!!  As you can tell, the odds of loosing were not good, however....................................................................(my drum roll again).............................I did manage to loose 2 pounds!!! I was pleasantly surprised.  Now, I need to get back in the diet zone and take off 5 this week. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Late Plan For the Week

It seems like I keep getting this post up later each week.  I feel like I have run a marathon for some strange reason.  Maybe it's the extra hours I've been picking up at work, I'm not use to that.  Big kudos to hubby though, he's been keeping the kiddos fed and bringing in the gallon of milk we drink per day.  A big shout out to the kiddos too. They let me sleep and take care of the little ones,  all while getting their chores in and the specific school work I give them(I have to assign it before hand though, or they don't do anything).  They're such good kids (most of the time).  I'm so blessed!!

It's getting close to vacation time too!!!  I can't wait.  It feels like I haven't seen much of the family this past week.  I can't wait to get to spend 12 whole days with them. 

In the meantime, here's what little plan I have put together.

Sunday - Hubby bought dinner

Monday - Again Hubby bought dinner (not good for the diet, I know!!)

Tuesday - hotdogs, mac n' cheese, green beans, french fries

Wednesday - Roast, potatoes, and carrots in the crock pot

Thursday - BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn

Friday - Spaghetti

Saturday - hamburgers, roasted potatoes, peas

Sunday - cubed steak n' gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, and rolls

Tomorrow is the weigh in and I must admit, I haven't done very well this week. All I can hope for is to not have gained, because I'm pretty sure I haven't lost anything:(

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weigh-In Wednesday

It's the moment of truth. Time to publicly announce my loss or gain.  I'm proud to say, I have lost.......................................................(that's my drum roll) .............. 4.2 pounds!!!  Not a bad start! Hoping for another good week.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let's Get Packing - Step 2

Good news!  I have the pool/beach bag packed, with the exception of my swimsuit.  The only swimsuit I own at the moment is a maternity one, so I have to order one.  Hopefully I'll find one before we go. 

The next step is getting the bathroom bags ready.  First thing you need to do is make your list.

Once you have your list made,  you can start collecting all of the things you need in a basket or special area in your house. Just start buying an item everytime you go to the store!!  What if you just bought a new bottle of shampoo??  I still buy a new one.  After all, it's bathroom supplies, you will use them.  The reason I do this is so I'm not running around on the morning we leave trying to gather up everyone's bathroom supplies.  As you can see,  I list out everyone!!  That way I don't forget anything.  Even if I do,  I know exactly where the Target and Wal-Mart are in Orlando:)  I just think this will help me keep the stress level to a minimum on the day of departure.  Especially since I will have worked 12 hours the night before we leave. 

As you can see,  I have already started purchasing things.  As I get them,  I check them off the list.  The list stays in the basket with the supplies.  Then,  once everything is gathered, I'll pack them up. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Plan for the Week - A Day Late

The countdown continues to Florida.  We can't wait.  I still have a lot to do, but it will get done.  It ALWAYS does.  The menu plan for this week is absolutely simple, the way I like it.  

Sunday - Spaghetti and meatballs
Monday - Juicy chicken, fried rice and zucchini
Tuesday - Chili
Wednesday - Grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, and crescent rolls
Thursday - Homemade pizza (didn't get to this last week)
Friday - Roast, potatoes. and carrots in the crock pot
Saturday - Hubby's responsibility because it's my work weekend :( BOO!!! Probably hamburgers??

Hope everyone has a great week!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Questions to a Large Family

I mentioned once about my favorite question, but I'd like to share the top 5 that have been asked to hubby or me.

Here we go!

1. Are they all yours? This one is my favorite.  I'm going to respond sometime by saying, "Nope! I've picked them up here and there."  I just want to see their faces.

2.  Did you plan on having a big family?  I don't really know. I didn't have a number in mind growing up.  I didn't get out 2, 3, 4,or 6 dolls and play house.  I just knew I wanted to be a mommy.  My best friend growing up had two children about the same time I had  my two oldest. She told me after her second daughter was born that she was done.  I thought, how do you know that for sure.  She told me I'd know when I was done.  She was right.  After baby Samuel,  I had that I think this is it thought.  I had never once had that thought before!!!  I guess it could change, but for now,  I'm done.

3.  Don't you know how that happens?  Well of course I do, I'm a nurse!!!  Hubby once answered this with, "Yes, we practice daily."  Imagine!  That was to his childhood pastor. I know my face was red as a beet.

4.  Do you not believe in birth control?  Well, that's my business, isn't it?

5.  How do you afford all those children?  My only answer to that is by the grace of God.  Our financial numbers very rarely add up.  Hubby and I work very hard to provide for our family.  We don't always have what we want, but we ALWAYS have what we need. 

I love having a large family and will probably answer these questions for a long time.  I think I'll try and come up with some really interesting answers.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Let the Weight Loss Begin - Week 1

Okay, so today begins "THE DIET"!  Time to get this weight off!!  I ,of course, am NOT posting my weight on here, but will be tracking how much I lose.  I really don't have a specific plan.  I did Weight Watchers after I had Mini-Me a couple years ago and did well as long as I stuck to it.  I'm hoping a weekly post on here will keep me motivated and accountable. 

Weigh in will be every Wednesday morning, not sure why I picked Wednesday???  I will post whether I gained or lost and how much.  The ultimate weight loss goal is 60 pounds!!!!  I realize it's not going to all come off in the next 3 months, but hopefully I won't get frustrated and quit, as usual.

Also,  I am currently looking for some kind of exercise program that can be done in the home and preferably not take longer than 30 minutes. Oh, and does not require me to go out and purchase any type of equipment.  Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions?????  I have multiple exercise videos, but they all seem to be 40 minutes or longer.  I truly just don't have that kind of time with the kids and all. 

Side note: as I'm sitting here after 12 hours of working night shift, my mind is CRAZY!!! The phrase Weigh-in Wednesday keeps running through there.  Maybe that's why I picked Wednesday??? LOL  You really shouldn't try to do something too serious after working a 12 hours night shift!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Let's Get Packing - Step 1

The countdown has begun.  It's 2012 and time for our biennial ( I used a new word) trip to Orlando!!!  We can't wait!!  The kids are so excited, hubby is excited and I'm ......WELL........I'll be honest, while I'm looking forward to our trip, the packing is daunting to say the least. In my years of packing this crew up, I've learned a few things and I'm going to try and put them to use.  My goal is to be completely packed up on the Thursday before we leave (Saturday).  NO COMMENTS HONEY!!!!!!

For those that know me, I am the world's best procrastinator.  Here's my excuse on this one,  there are so many of us and it's so hard to keep up with the laundry, there is always that one last outfit that needs washed, for everyone.  BUT,  this year,  I'm gonna beat it.  AGAIN, NO COMMENTS HONEY!!!

Here's my plan!  I'm packing in stages.  The first goal is to find all the swim wear, swim gear,  and beach towels and get them all packed up.  Yes, there is an ENTIRE suitcase dedicated to pool/beach time!!  I put all of our swim stuff in one place, that way when it's time to go to the pool or beach, we're not tearing open 8 suitcases looking for suits and towels.  I must admit this one was hubby's idea.  When I started doing this, I could fit it all into a small suitcase. It now requires a full size one!!

How relaxing!!  I wish we were already there!!!

Checklist for the Water Fun suitcase:

               At least 8 swim suits (I guarantee you there will be more, I have 3 girls)
               Arm floaties - the two boys are competent swimmers, but the rest ??????
               At least 8 beach towels and 2 beach blankets
               sun block
               Beach toys (balls, shovels/buckets, dive sticks, etc.)
               Little Swimmers for baby Samuel

I think that's about all we'll need!! Any other suggestions??  Step 2, my goal is the bathroom bags.  Before you ask,  yes it will require more than one!! 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Plan for the Week January 8, 2012

Well, last week we were invaded by the dreaded stomach virus.  We had 4 down total, but thankfully not all at the same time.  It started with one of the girls, then I got it, moved on to the baby and now the eldest is complaining.  I was unable to work Friday or Saturday night, but it's looking good for tonight, so here's hoping!!!

Enough of last week,  I would just like to put that whole week behind me.  This week is looking pretty busy (as usual).  We have the usual home schooling through the week, but also have a doctor's appointment and a couple extra days of work (trying to get some extra money for Florida).  I like to have some kind of plan on busy weeks, seems to ease the stress of "what's for dinner".  So, here goes:

Sunday - Lasagna and garlic bread

Monday - Hot dogs,  french fries, and baked beans

Tuesday - Grilled chicken, caramelized squash, green beans, crescent rolls

Wednesday - Potato soup

Thursday - Homemade pizza

Friday - Spaghetti and meatballs

Saturday - Taco soup

Hope everyone has a great week!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

It's so hard to believe that 2011 is over.  What an event filled year for my family.  We had times of sorrow and times of great joy.  The early part of 2011 brought the loss of hubby's only living grandmother.  That leaves hubby and I down to 1 grandparent living, my grandmother.  Shortly after that,  I had to go on strict bed rest to help deliver a safe and healthy baby Samuel.  That lead to a couple different hardships; hit hard financially and household management.  It did bring forth a couple of big helpers in the house though.  On May 4,  baby Samuel arrived, three weeks early.  He was absolutely beautiful and thank the Lord, healthy.  I was able to get back to work and the finances came back around. 

A couple big milestones hit this year as well.  I am now officially the mother of a teenager.  Help me Lord!!!  He can be such a help and at the same time such a teenager!!  If you have one, you know what I mean.  My little mini-me is finally, completely potty trained!!!  That was an effort, let me tell you.  Hubby traded in his truck for a passenger van,  that's right 12 seat passenger van.  We have plenty of room now.  And my oldest daughter got her ears pierced.  They're all growing up way too fast.

2011 was a busy year and I don't expect 2012 to slow down much.  We're into another year of homeschooling, all my babies are growing up, vacation is planned, hopefully some changes in the work schedule, and some more extra curricular activities for the kiddos.  Busy, busy, busy!!!!

Of course what would the New Year be without New Year's resolutions??  My only resolution is to make the best of 2012!!  I ,of course, want to lose a great deal of weight and that will require exercise,  but those aren't resolutions.  Basically, no goals mean no failures!!  That makes for a GOOD Year!!

I hope you all have a very Happy and Blessed 2012!!