Monday, February 25, 2013

Menu Plan Monday February 25, 2013

The last week of February, where does the time go?  It seems like the older I get,  the shorter the years get.

The kiddos and I are a little disappointed this week.  We were suppose to head to the beach at the end of the week,  but had to cancel :(  We're hoping to reschedule sometime in March or April,  HOWEVER,  the disappointment remains.

OH well :o(  on to the plan for the week.  I have a lot of chicken and will be trying out some new crock pot recipes I've found at my favorite Crockin Girls site.  

MONDAY - Chicken tenders, mashed potatoes n gravy,  glazed carrots, and corn

TUESDAY - Sweet Mama's BBQ Chicken, Fried taters, Mac N Cheese, corn bread

WEDNESDAY - Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas, rice, chips n salsa

THURSDAY -Sweet Brown BBQ Lime Chicken Sandwiches, French Fries

FRIDAY - Chicken Tortellini Soup

SATURDAY - Orange Chicken, green beans, corn, rolls

SUNDAY - Crock Pot Roast, potatoes, and carrots

For more meal planning ideas,  visit Menu Plan Monday over at Organizing Junkie.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Menu Plan Monday February 18

Last week was as close to a normal week as I think we've had since Christmas.  It was wonderful.  We got all our school work completed.   I was able to get my kitchen rearranged and keep it "mostly" clean all week.

Of course there was Valentine's Day as well.  I got these lovely chairs to go with my mom's antique table and hubby took me out to dinner on Friday night (though we ended up getting carry out and bringing it home).

Now,  we're that much closer to spring and warmer weather.  I can't wait.  These kiddos need to get outside a LOT MORE!!!

On to this week's plan:

MONDAY - Chicken N Dumplings, green beans, corn

TUESDAY - Ravioli and Italian garlic bread

WEDNESDAY - Taco night

THURSDAY - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, caramelized squash, homemade bread

FRIDAY - Brown Sugar Chicken and Rice

SATURDAY - Grilled hamburgers, roasted potatoes, baked beans

SUNDAY - Crock Pot Roast, Potatoes, and Carrots

For more menu planning ideas, visit  Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie.

Homemade Shake N Bake

Baked chicken was my mom's go-to meal growing up.  She always had chicken in the freezer and Shake N Bake in the cabinets. YUMMY!!!

So, when Hubby suggested baked chicken for dinner one night, I immediately thought of mom's dinner.

Problem?  I didn't have any shake n bake!!

Solution:  Mix up my own.  I got online and found a recipe that sounded good and gave it a go.

Here's what you'll need:
       4 cups dry bread crumbs
       1/3 cup vegetable oil
       1 tbsp salt
       1 tbsp paprika
       1 tbsp celery salt
       1 tsp ground black pepper
       1/2 tsp garlic salt
       1/2 tsp minced onion
       1/4 tsp minced onion
       1 pinch dried basil leaved
       1 pinch dried parsley
       1 pinch dried oregano

1. Combine all ingredients into a large resealable plastic bag.  Seal bag and shake all ingredients together.

Use as much as needed at a time and store the rest in the fridge.  I was able to cut up and coat 4 whole chickens (not all at once of course) .

Delicious - They started eating before it was even on the table!!!

I will NEVER buy packets of Shake N Bake again!!  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Honey and Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I am always on the look out for a new side dish for dinner.  Lately, it seems we're having the same old stuff: mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, peas, mac n cheese.  While all of those are good,  they do tend to get old quick.  So,  I'm always searching.

This one came about when hubby brought home some sweet potatoes from the store,  but didn't want them fixed the unhealthy way( the ONLY way I know how).  That's baked with brown sugar and marshmallows.  He was wanting a healthier version,  so  I started looking and found this one on food network.  Obviously it wasn't the candied variety I love to eat,  but since we're trying to be healthier and loose weight,  I gave it a try.

Turns out,  the honey and cinnamon were just enough. I thought they were very good, as did hubby.  The kiddos are a different story,  but they don't even eat my candied version,  so they don't count!!

Here's all you need:
       4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling potatoes after cooked
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lay sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a roasting tray.  

Whisk together the olive oil, honey, and cinnamon then pour over the potatoes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Roast in oven for 35-45 minutes until tender.  The original recipe called for 25-30 minutes,  but it took a good bit longer in my oven(of course,  my chunks were a bit larger than 1 inch).  Check often so as not to burn.


Favorite Thing Friday - Valentine's Day

Well,  for those that don't know me,  I'm married to a wonderful man,  BUT he's not a mushy, romantic type person.  I don't usually get flowers, candy,  or mushy love cards.

Before we get all upset,  I didn't say I never get anything,  just not typical things.

That leads to this years gift and my favorite Valentine gift so far:  a set of old chairs that PERFECTLY match my mom's antique table I have.

Isn't that lovely??  I absolutely cherish my mom's antiques.  They were something she loved to have and took great pride in them.  I guess that's why I love them too.  It's a part of her that I can keep close to me even though I'm far from home and she's in Heaven!!

I can't believe how well they go together.  The china cabinet in the back is also another piece my mom had.  They all look fabulous together in my RED kitchen!!!

Linking up at Favorite Thing Friday at Sippy Cup Chronicles as well as Photobucket

Have a fabulous weekend!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Struggling Along

UGH,  UGH,  and UGH again!! Most of you know hubby and I have 6 kids.  We've struggled for years trying to get out of debt,  decrease my out of the house working hours,  and continue to pay the monthly bills on time. 

 We discussed declaring bankruptcy several years ago, but came to the conclusion that we accumulated the debts we have and as Christians, we feel obligated to pay them off.  

THEN,  I go to the grocery store or Wal-Mart and stand in line behind a "stay-at-home mom" that is paying for her groceries with an EBT card or WIC.  My BIG issue isn't with the form of payment so much as the attitude and all the accessories that go with said "stay-at-home mom".  I witnessed with my own eyes and heard with my own ears a woman (I can't rightly call her a lady) argue with a cashier about why her EBT card should still have money on it because it's not the end of the month yet. I guess the card should just work anytime she wants it to, wish my debit card did that!!  I also heard a woman say, "Now,  why would I want to pay for these with my debit card when I have this EBT card"?  Yes indeed,  WHY???  The effort isn't even made.  They feel like they're entitled to it.  All the while,  they are toting their IPhones, Coach purses, designer clothes, and driving a new SUV.  Their kids even have IPhones.  REALLY???  

Where do we draw the line?  At what point do we stop handing things out, and start making people carry their own weight (so to speak).  This system is bleeding our country dry.  We are raising a generation of takers.  We have families that are encouraging young girls to have children to keep the handouts coming in.  We have illegal immigrants in this country getting "their share" because they have children that are American citizens (guess who paid for those??).  We have able bodied Americans collecting Social Security Disability,  who continue to do odd jobs "working for cash".  I could go on and on.  

There are cases wherein people are indeed in need.  I'm finding though that the vast majority that I come across are just people who are TAKERS.  

I myself sit back and think of all the things I could buy for myself or my family IF I didn't have to pay out $200.00 per WEEK in groceries or $500.00 per month in health insurance.  Hubby and I often discuss how much EASIER things would be IF we didn't have to pay for our food or medical care.  For example:  Princess' surgery (that she didn't have to have, THANK YOU LORD) cost us $2000.00 out of pocket before they would even schedule it.  Have we got that money back yet???  NOPE!!  And you and I both know it will be a battle all the way.  HOWEVER,  if she were on the state's system..............................................  

So seriously,  when it would be so easy to get things handed to us,  why do we continue to struggle on???

I guess because for us, it's the right thing to do. Obviously,  that's not the case for everyone. 

You've probably guessed by now,  I went to the grocery store today!! (Side Note: I spent under my weekly budget and still have plenty of food for the week) While at the store though, I had another encounter with a TAKER!!  It ruins my whole state of mind, I must say.  I really should work on that.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Menu Plan February 11

What a whirlwind of a weekend!!  We had a great time in Alabama visiting family.  I'm so glad the kiddos enjoy getting together with their cousins.

On our way home, we celebrated Valentine's Day a little early by stopping at Texas Roadhouse (one of our FAVS).  Yes,  we had all the kiddos with us. However, they know how to behave out in public and it was an enjoyable and delicious meal for all!!  

This week's menu is based on what I already have in the freezer and cabinets, since we spent almost half of our budget at Texas Roadhouse!  I'm hoping to keep what I do have to buy under $100.00.  We'll see.  

On to the menu:

MONDAY - Homemade pizza

TUESDAY - Chicken-gravy biscuits, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and green beans

WEDNESDAY - Potato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

THURSDAY - Spaghetti and Garlic Parmesan Bread

FRIDAY - Baked chicken, Sweet Potatoes, corn,and  rolls
(Someday I will learn to take pictures BEFORE the boys realized the food is ready)

SATURDAY - Breakfast for Dinner: Pancakes, eggs, bacon, and fried taters

SUNDAY - Smothered Pork Chops N Potatoes in the crock pot and homemade bread 

For more meal planning ideas,  check out Menu Plan Monday over at Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


 Everyone's heard of it,  but who knows someone actually treated for it??  Well,  I can now say that I do!!  I have been a nurse for 18+ years and had NEVER known anyone that had or had been treated for Cat Scratch Fever.  That's where we start our story:

Right after Christmas,  our 8 year old came to me complaining of her armpit hurting.  I kinda looked at her funny and she proceeded to explain to me that it DOES hurt because of the lump under her arm.  LUMP??? Well, of course that got my attention.  I checked her out and YES,  a lump about the size of a pea was present.  Being the nurse that I am,  I assumed a swollen lymph node since she had just gotten over some sickenss!!  So,  the watching stage began.

She continued to complain about the pain and a couple days later,  I checked the lump again and it is now the size of a large gumball.  Time to seek a MD opinion,

Friday Jan 4 - Off to the pediatricians we go.  My initial diagnosis was correct,  a swollen lymph node caused by Cat Scratch Fever.  WHAT????  I know I looked rather perplexed when he told us.  I was okay until he started talking about the bacteria getting into her blood stream and liver. Of course,  he also prefaced that with ,"she's young and healthy, so we don't expect that to happen".  Well,  I wouldn't have expected her to have Cat Scratch Fever either!!!  Again,  being a nurse can be a blessing and a curse!!!  I knew how bad a systemic blood infection could be.  Of course we DIDN'T want that to happen.  ROUND ONE of antibiotics ordered and started!!

My first reaction was,  "THERE'S A COUPLE OF KITTENS AT HOME THAT HAVE GOT TO GO!"  (the kittens are still here).
Here is my Princess girl and "the culprit".  Hard to believe such a cute little thing could cause such problems.  HUH???

After the first round of antibiotics (started on Friday - finished the following Wednesday),  we had not had the desired effect.  The pediatrician had told us that the lump might not go away,  BUT the pain and tenderness should.  WELL,  after round one,  the lump was still there as was the pain. After two days of no antibiotics,  the lump got larger (about the size of a golf ball) and red.  Plus,  it was even more painful.  So, Friday morning, January 11, we're off to the pediatrician's office AGAIN!!!

This time,  there's a little more concern on the pediatrician's face.  The antibiotics not only didn't work,  but now things are worse.  This time,  we are sent for blood work,  and a stronger more generalized antibiotic to cover WHATEVER might be going on.  He also told me to watch the lump carefully and give a call back on Monday.  If there isn't significant improvement over the three days of antibiotics,  he was calling a surgeon.  

Monday morning (Jan, 14) - The lump is still the same.  Plus,  now we have abdominal pain and a strange rash!!  Of course I called first thing that morning.  He referred us to a pediatric surgeon and got us an appointment for Thursday the same week. He thought the rash and possibly the stomach pain was a side effect of the medication.  He told us to continue to take it if she could handle it.  She couldn't seem to, so the medicine was stopped after the morning dose. 

By Tuesday afternoon, she was miserable.  I got 8 calls at work because she was lying on the couch crying from the pain in her stomach.   I called the Pediatrician's office and they got her in to be seen that evening.  The concern - possible liver involvement causing the pain and the petechial rash.  Fortunately,  they ruled that out at the office.  The did some blood work and checked her tummy out,  and decided it wasn't her liver.  Question was,  what then???  Maybe just a virus.  

Thursday (Jan, 17) - We're off to see the surgeon and get his opinion.  Finally some good news, an abscessed lymph node, most likely caused by the Cat Scratch Fever.  The antibiotics had kept the infection from spreading,  but anytime she was without the antibiotics,  the abscess would cause problems.  Bad news - it would require surgery to fix!! In his words,  "the sooner, the better".  Oh,  and while they're in there,  they'll just go ahead and biopsy things, "just to be sure".   He wanted to do the procedure the next day, but his schedule would not allow it.  The next available date was Friday Jan 25,  so more antibiotics as well.  He was super sweet to her and explained things very well,  but when he left,  the tears started.  She was scared.  

Waiting and praying,  waiting and praying.  For an entire week,  we had multiple people praying for her.  Praying that she would be brave and not scared,  and praying that the biopsy would be negative.  Praying that the surgery would fix the problems she had been having. 

Thursday night - Checked the lump under her arm and it was still there about the size of a gumball and very painful.  Again we prayed and put her to bed.

Friday morning - Up early and heading to the surgery center.  We had to be there at 7:30am.  Being that I am not a morning person,  we were up and out,  but I never once thought to check under her arm.  We were called back, they got her vitals, checked her in,  I signed the consent, the anesthesiologist had been in , and the resident was there to check on her.  They were ready to take her back to the OR, 

when the actual surgeon came out to do the right site/right patient check.  He felt around under her arm and asked me to show him again where the lump was,  he couldn't feel it.  I went over to check and sure enough,  NO LUMP.  NOTHING!!!  NOT EVEN ANY TENDERNESS!!  WELL,  "PRAISE THE LORD".   The lump was gone.  In a room full of medical professionals (me included)  God showed us His healing power!!  The surgery was cancelled and the surgeon himself said, "What we have here is a miracle."  

We didn't pray for the lump to disappear.  We figured the surgery was inevitable.  Oh we of little faith.  I'm so thankful God had a bigger plan!!  We simply asked for things to go well,  God said I'll just take the lump away.  Showed me how little faith I had.  I had placed my faith in the hands of the pediatrician and surgeon when it should have been in God who held it all in His hands the whole time.  

Takes me to the little song we teach to our children:
                He's able, He's able,  I know He's able
                I know my Lord is able to carry me through.
                He's able, He's able,  I know He's able
                I know my Lord is able to carry  me through.

               He healed the broken hearted
               and set the captives free.
               He made the lame to walk again
               and He caused the blind to see.

               He's able, He's able, I know He's able
               I know my Lord is able to carry me through.

We sing it,  but how often do we believe it, ask it, and live it????  I have to admit,  I failed, but God didn't!!   SO THANKFUL!!!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Menu Plan Monday February 4

February already?  Where does the time go?  It seems like I just got the Christmas decorations put away - OH,  I did!  That's my own fault though!!

This week is a shorter menu week as I will be taking the kiddos further south to their cousins house for his birthday this weekend.  They are super excited.  I probably shouldn't have told them until Friday when I'm packing them up!!!  LOL - They're going to drive me crazy!!  On the bright side,  the weekend meals are from  Taste and See God's Goodness Menu and they look YUMMY!!!

So,  here's the plan:

MONDAY - Lasagna - (didn't get to this yesterday)  Hubby got the kiddos pizza from a new brick oven place he had heard about on Saturday (I know - I know!  BUT, it WASN'T fast food), so last week's menu was off by a day.

TUESDAY - Ham, roasted potatoes, green beans, glazed carrots

WEDNESDAY - Chicken Pot Pie and homemade bread

THURSDAY - Potato Soup and Grilled Cheese

FRIDAY - PUB style chicken, rice, and mixed veggies    
For more menu ideas (and recipes), head on over to Menu Plan Monday at Organizing