Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week 3 Meal Plan

Introduction and background to the author of the Meal Plan
Week 1Meal Plan

As promised, another great week of yummy and healthy meals that comes complete with a shopping list. If you think you are missing Week 2, you're not. Theresa decided to do every other week this year to slowly compile her year long plan. This year are the odd numbered weeks.

I am trying a new way to share the documents. Again, please let me know how it works. 

Get the Week 3 Meal Plan Document that includes the recipes and the grocery list and a cross reference page.

In order to show you just how amazing these meals are, I am posting a few pics with the recipe that you can find along with all of week 3 recipes in the document.

Herbed Chicken with Lemon in a Crockpot

1 whole chicken (2-3 lb) 10 cloves garlic 6 small red potatoes, cubed
1 lemon, cut into wedges ¼ c chicken broth bunch fresh green beans
2 T fresh rosemary 1 sm pat butter, melted dash salt
dash pepper 

Clean and pat dry the chicken. Place it into the crockpot. Drizzle the butter onto the chicken then rub with garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired. Garnish the top of chicken with lemon wedges as desired. Add the garlic, broth, small red potatoes, and green beans to the crockpot. Cook on high 4 hours or on low 7-8 hours. (I don’t like the whole chicken, so I get large boneless, skinless
chicken breasts instead.) (Serves 6)

Black Bean Asparagus Salad

1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into one inch pieces ¼ c minced fresh parsley
2 c water 1/8 c olive oil
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 T lime juice
½ large sweet red pepper, chopped pinch salt
½ med sweet onion, chopped pinch pepper 

In a Dutch oven, bring asparagus and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Rinse in cold water; pat dry. In a large bowl, combine the asparagus, beans, red pepper, onion, and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Heart Nap Time

As a mom nap times have always been precious to me. I use the time for doing things that I find are hard to do with 3 little kids running around be it cleaning or simply relaxing. Unfortunately, I think nap times are about to change around our house which will make for very long summer days when I don't get that extra down time.

On one particular day, I tucked my sweet, wonderful baby boy in for a routine nap. I kissed his forehead and headed out his door making sure that I shut it. After nap time, I went to wake up my calm, well-rested toddler. This is what I found:

The door couldn't open any more than this because his mattress was on the floor.

Sticking my camera in farther I realized that my son had emptied out his closet full of clothes, moved the rocking chair from the far corner you see to the light switch, knocked over his changing table that we now use as storage which holds his socks, undies, and shoes, took off all the bedding, moved the top mattress down a level, and fell asleep on the spring mattress. 

It was this day I realized that my baby boy was no longer my baby, he's my strong, little, messy man.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Verbs- Jeopardy Game

I just finished my Masters in Elementary Education so while I wait for a position to open up at our local school, I have been given several job opportunities to keep me at school as much as they can. Teaching 5th grade grammar is one of those wonderful opportunities. I started right after I was done student teaching last fall and have been trying several different things out to see what works best with the students. For the unit on verbs I wanted to do something that they were not used to. I made notes for the students to fill in while we learned about the many many rules that go with verbs. I hope to upload the notes soon; but for now, I will give you the review game I made for them.

It is a Jeopardy Game that aligns really well with the book we use, but some of you might be able to use it in your classrooms.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week 1 Meal Plan

If you missed the introduction post, you can find it at this link.

The first week has arrived! Click here to get the first of the year long meal plan that Theresa has planned. Please, please let me know if it works. I am uploading a document and I'm not sure if I did it right.

Additionally, she is working on a cross reference page so if you want a specific type of dish, you can see the cross reference page and it will tell you where to find that type of dish. I will post that in a few days.

Spring Bow Tie Pasta.

Sweet Potato Lasagna 

Banana Bread


Year Long Meal Plan

My wonderful mother has decided to make a year of pre-planned meals and has graciously allowed me to be a part of it and post it for all to enjoy. Every couple of weeks I will be able to post weekly meal plans when she is done, we should have a nice collection of a years worth of recipes and shopping lists. I will be posting the first week soon!

Now, let me introduce you to my mom:

You can visit her Pinterest site here.

Corry Year Long Meal Plan
by Theresa Hollingsworth Hafen Corry

            I just finished a 28 day challenge with Engine 2 and Whole Foods.  I loved it for several reasons.  Eating lots of vegetables and eating no dairy or meat made me feel great - healthy!  I also liked having a variety of dishes and trying new recipes.  Yet, my favorite part of the whole thing was having a plan with recipes all in one spot and grocery lists completed to make sure I had the right stuff on hand.  For an entire month, I did not have to say, “I wonder what I should have for dinner?  I wonder if I have the ingredients for it?  I wonder if I’m using up the foods I bought on Saturday so nothing spoils.”  Now that I am off the 28 day challenge, I wanted to continue to have a food plan in place.  After trying over and over and not being successful, I realized why few people have such a plan – it is a ton of work to put together and takes a huge amount of time!  So, I thought if I start little by little, every other week, I might be able to eventually have a year-long meal plan.

            First, a few things about me to help you understand the various choices in foods.   I like variety.  I do not want to eat macaroni and cheese every day, nor even every week.  I don’t eat a lot of meat or processed foods – one or two meals a week with meat is enough for me and a few processed foods here and there is my goal; it is a healthier choice than the typical diet of the people in the United States who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, and other medical problems because of the way they eat, as well as too much fat, salt, sugar, and processed foods in their diets.  I also believe in food storage.  I do not want to be in any kind of disaster, natural or man-made, and not have food to attempt to keep my family healthy.  This means that I have a three month supply of canned foods on my pantry shelves (including boxed and processed foods that require little or no cooking).  I also have a year supply of staples such as flour, sugar, wheat, rice, beans; dried and freeze dried foods such as strawberries, peas, carrots, onions, etc.  In addition, I have many just add water meals (with way too much salt in them).  So, these meal plans will include items from food storage for continual rotation.  If you have storage, too, feel free to substitute dry beans for canned or whatever else you see.  Just make sure to prepare the items in advance.  For example, soak the beans overnight to have them ready for cooking.

            My family is busy during the mornings getting ready for work and school.  We also don’t have time nor facilities for preparing lunches.  So, these plans will be mainly dinners on weeknights and meals on weekends.  Breakfast and lunch will be open for whatever works for the family at the time such as cereal, oatmeal, left overs, brown bag sandwiches, or raw fruits and vegetables.  I find that when I fix the recipes, I always end up with lots of left overs.  Most of the left overs can be eaten the next day or two for lunch or put in the freezer and eaten the following week or two.  Thus, my freezer is usually full of healthy frozen dinners from prior meals I have prepared.  In fact, after the 28 day challenge, I went another three weeks eating all of the left over frozen meals from the challenge. 

            If you are not used to preparing your own meals, the first few weeks of grocery shopping will be expensive while you gather stores of spices, condiments, baking items, and so forth.  After that, you will find that about half of the grocery list is already sitting on your pantry shelves and the grocery bill will shrink.  I also still buy items that are on sale to supplement my food storage and continue to incorporate them into my meal plans.  Obviously, you can trade out any meal that doesn’t fit for something else you prefer.  Or, if you are like me and there is too much food in the plan, skip one of the meals and eat left overs instead.

            Finally, a note about the recipes.  Many of the recipes are ones that I have clipped for the past forty years.  Because of this, I cannot give exact credit where it is due.  Thus, if I don’t have a specific credit stated, the recipe most likely came from one of the following places:  Taste of Home, Betty Crocker Cookbooks, Family Circle, other ladies magazines, local cooking classes, internet, family, friends.

Click here for Week 1 meals.
Click here for Week 3 meals.
Click here for Week 5 meals.

Pajama Pants

Over Christmas I made my boys (little one and big one) some pajama pants. They were simple enough so when we decided to have a Spring Party and my friend wanted to make the girls pillowcase dresses, I thought that pj pants would be great for me to make for the boys. I have several tutorials on Pinterest for ways to make pajama pants. After looking at all of them, I decided to combine a few that would be best for me. Below is my version of how to make pajama pants. I made two in about two hours after making one and experimenting which ways would work best for me. 

So our family and our friends have this thing going about which tractor is better. Green or Red. My husband worked as a diesel mechanic on the red tractors so we are all for red; however, our friends are farmers and ranchers and they say green. Ever since each of us had our first little ones we have been giving each other what we think is the better color items: tractors, clothes, little trinkets. When I saw this fabric I decided this was the perfect stuff to make these pj pants after all, they were the RIGHT color! I bought 3 yards to make sure I would have enough. 

*Please remember that I am no seamstress. I am just an amateur who likes to experiment.*

Jeans the same size as the person you are making the pants for
Fabric (at least two inches higher than the waist of the jeans and two inches longer than the     
             leg of the jeans) 
Sewing machine
Thread matching your fabric
Measuring Tool
Safety pin

Step One: When you buy the fabric it is usually folded in half. Unfold your material with the pattern facing down. Refold your material so that both edges of your fabric are next to each other and meet where the crease of the first fold was. The pattern should be showing now.

Step Two: Fold the jeans backwards so that the front zipper is facing out. Make sure the crotch is totally pulled out. Lay the jeans down with the outside of the legs right on the fold of your fabric. You can trace the pants if you want to. I just cut around the jeans. Make sure you leave about two inches all around them (top, sides, and bottom).

Step Three: Take the cutout and flip it to the other side. The fold should line up with the fold on the other side of the uncut fabric. The crotch should point toward the middle of the fabric you laid out which would be the actual edge of the fabric. Cut this as close to the already cut fabric as you can. Again, you can trace if you want.

If you look close enough you can see the cut fabric laid on top of the uncut side of fabric. 

Step Four: Unfold the fabric and lay the pieces down facing each other--pattern in, backside of fabric showing. You are going to sew from the top of the waist to the tip of the crotch on both sides. 

I got a little too close to the edge, so I sewed that part again a little farther from the edge. I usually use the foot as a guide, but I must not have been paying enough attention to this part. Oops.

Step Five: Now take both the seams you just sewed and put them together. You will start to see pants! 

Step Six: Pin the crotch together and a few more pins down both legs to secure the fabric when sewing. Sew the legs closed. Keep in mind that if the bottom of the legs do not match up, it is okay because you will be making a cuff. It is important to make sure the crotch matches up, however. To ensure this, I started sewing from the crotch down the leg. Then went back up to the crotch and sewed down the other leg. 

Step Seven: Take your pants and lay them out how you originally sewed them-so that the sewn edges are on both sides. Like in the first picture below- the seams are not facing each other. Figure out which side you want the front to be and cut a slight angle. The front of the pants should be slightly lower than the back when you lay out the pants so that both legs are seen as shown in the second picture below.

Picture on the top: seams not next to each other, start at the front (belly part) of the pants and cut a slight angle.
Picture on the bottom: unfolded, seams are on top of each other, there is a slight dip in the front of the pants (where the belly is).

Step Eight: Measure the waist on the jeans. Make your measurement an inch or two smaller than the jeans. Then, measure your elastic band and cut to match your measurement. 

Step Nine: Fold the edge of the waist over and iron. This is just to get a smooth edge at the top of the pants so the fold should not be very big.

Step Ten: Fold the waist again, this time measure a little bigger than your elastic. Mine was about 1/2 an inch bigger than the elastic. Pin the fold to make sure you keep enough space for the elastic to fit into  the waist.

Step Eleven: Sew your waist, but stop about 2-3 inches away from your beginning stitch. You need enough space to put your elastic in. 

You can see that my fingers are pointing to the places where I started and stopped sewing.

Step Twelve: Put a safety pin on the edge of your elastic and feed it through the waist you just sewed. Once the elastic is completely through the waist, sew the edges of the elastic together. I used a zigzag stitch to give it more strength. If you want a drawstring, take you drawstring and feed it through the waist the same way you did with the elastic. I didn't put a drawstring in, and simply sewed the small opening where I fed the waist closed. 

Step Thirteen: Okay, onto the legs. You are almost done! I made my legs extra long so that the kids could grow into them and they would last longer. Besides, it is always easier to make them shorter than it is to make them longer. But I did leave a lot of fabric for the cuff so that if needed or wanted, the seam could be ripped out and lengthened. Fold the cuff, iron, and sew. 

Finally! Turn your pants the right side out and admire the fact that you just created something from plan old fabric. =)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring Scavenger Hunt

When we had our spring party, we included an egg hunt. But this wasn't a regular egg hunt, I wanted to save the for Easter. We created a scavenger hunt. We started by getting our baskets. Each child had their own basket with their name written on a tag that matched the color of plastic egg they were looking for. We had pink, yellow, purple, green, blue, and orange. Then, we gave them the first clue. 

They were easy clues so that the kids who don't live at my house could have a chance of figuring them out too. Here were my clues: 
1. Your dad is hungry. (Fridge)
2. Madilyn wants to read to us. (Kids' bookshelf in reading nook)
3. It's cold outside, you better put something warm on. (Coats)
4. McKinnley wants to barrow some of Melissa's clothes. (Girls' closet)
5. The upstairs bathroom is being used. (Downstairs bathroom)
6. We just put a big boy bed in Carter's room. (Carter's room)
7. Jackson is tired. We have an extra bed somewhere. (Downstairs bedroom)
8. I heard Reagan likes GREEN tractors. (The tractor in our shop)

The each had to look for their own egg and find the next clue. The last one was a bit tricky for them because we have a vehicle toy drawer that I knew they would go try to find their eggs. But it was really outside and took them to their final spot which was individual gifts for the boys and the girls instead of eggs. After this they got to go open their eggs and their gifts.

Inside the eggs were a ton of dollar store items like stickers, paint, and toys. We tried to stay away from candy because both of us moms decided that the kids have enough candy as it is. The kids had so much fun. That night for bedtime prayers, my oldest asked that we would be blessed to do it again.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Flower Sandwiches

For the main meal at our spring party we made flower sandwiches. The older kids helped cut lunchmeat, tomatoes, and cheese while the younger kids made the crust.

Cutie Pie is flattening regular pieces of bread with a smooth-edged cup. Once flattened, scrunch up and put into a muffin tin creating a flower shape. Make sure to leave room in the middle to add your sandwich fix ins.

This was my mother-in-law's sandwich. It is a little neater than the kids' were and includes spinach, ham, tomatoes, and cheese. It really looks like a cute flower.

Crispy Rice Spring Treats

For a special treat after their meal, the kids made rice crispy eggs. 

Make your rice crispies following your favorite reciepe.

After washing your plastic eggs, have the kids spread the rice crispies on the inside of the eggs. Push down in the middle to create a hollow middle. We actually sprayed cooking spray on the inside of the eggs and on the kids' hands because the rice crispies were so sticky. I don't think we had enough butter. We had never done this before, so we tried the outside of the eggs first (as the picture shows)-it didn't work. 

Once formed, slide out of the the plastic eggs and fill with whatever goodies you would like. We did M&Ms.

Smash together, it actually holds very well.

When ready to eat, break apart and enjoy.

Apple Butterflies

As part of our spring party the kids made apple butterflies. This is kind of messy as you can tell from the picture, but it was full hands on for the kiddos.

This was very simple. First slice your apple, sandwich peanut butter between two slices. Next, repeat so you have two "wings." Then, add a carrot. Finally, Enjoy!