Friday, September 30, 2011

Mil-Spouse Friday!

1. I always feel like I’m 25 years old, but in reality, I’m 25 .

2. I wish my family understood better when I tell them I am overwhelmed and just need a break.

3. If you saw me when I well never because I never look like a girly-girly haha you’d think I was a total girly-girl, but if you saw me when go fishing, you’d think I was a tomboy through-and-through.

4. I feel like I’m in a totally different universe when I compare home (aka the midwest) to our current duty station. So I have been living in a totally different universe for 3 years now!

5. In honor of this being MFF #60… 60 months ago (exactly 5 years ago, so September 30, 2006) I lived in Galesburg, IL and my life was totally different because S and I were living our lives without considering the military. H wasn't even a consideration at that moment.

Head on over to Wife of a Sailor to check out more Mil Spouse fill ins.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spending Frenzy

It seems like ever since S got back from his last deployment in June we have been on a spending frenzy around here. We took an expensive trip back home and to our dream home of Wisconsin and then came home and just haven't stopped spending. We aren't spending tons of money or buying anything lavish but $50 here and $100 here sure adds up over time. We usually are very good at sticking to a strict budget and saving money but lately well we would be getting a major F in that department.

I think part of it for me is that I know S spent months in a not so nice place and I feel like he deserves to get what he wants. I also have lost a lot of weight, 100 plus pounds, and have discovered my love for nice clothes and workout gear. But whatever the reason for our spending frenzy we have to stop it or we are going to have a bunch of stuff and not be any closer to our future goals and dreams.

After reading about the challenges Keep Calm and Have a Cosmo and My Goal is Simple posed to themselves in regards to purchasing new clothes I have decided to take their challenge a step further and not buy anything unnecessary for myself for the rest of the year. This means if its not groceries or toiletry items I am not buying it. I realize that it sounds pretty strict but I feel like I need to take a step back and realize the material things are what is important. Rather than go to Target and spend money on things that will be forgotten within weeks I can save this money for our future goals and dreams.

Now I will still be buying H his Halloween costume and Christmas presents of course. I will treat myself to a fun family day for my birthday in November instead of spending money on gifts for myself. I would like Christmas in our house to become more about the meaning of Christmas rather than the gifts. So if you are up for joining me in this challenge in any form let me know! I will try to report back on how its going too. So no more spending for me...this should be FUN! :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Recipe: Skinny Sloppy Joes

Last week I posted that I would be making these Sloppy Joes this week but spaced on a few ingredients so I ended up changing the recipe a bit. I really enjoyed the changes and thought I would share my version of Skinnytaste's Skinny Sloppy Joes.

My ingredient list included:
1 tomato
7 baby carrots
1 whole onion
5 oz of whole mushrooms
1 lb ground beef
6oz Tomato Paste
6oz water
Seasoning Salt

I diced up all of the veggies while the meat browned. After draining and seasoning the meat I added the veggies and let them cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Then I added the tomato paste and water. I let it cook for another 10 minutes or so on low hit. Then I served it on buns with french fries and veggies. S and H gave it a thumbs up and I enjoyed it too. Much better than the canned sloppy joe mix I think.

Menu 9/26 through 10/2

Monday: Loose Meat Burgers with French Fries and Veggies
Tuesday: Butternut Squash Soup
Wednesday: Tomato Pasta
Thursday: Steak Fajitas with Black Beans and Corn
Friday: Barbeque Chicken with Baked Sweet Potatoes and Veggies
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: BLTs with Chips and Fruit

Again I am working to keep myself on an extremely tight grocery budget. My goal this week is to keep it under $40! I don't really need a lot but do have to buy organic milk and that gets expensive. My grocery list includes: tortillas, frozen corn, eggs, turkey bacon, turkey lunch meat, peanut butter, milk (skim and 2%) and chips.
We are also going to try consuming more real foods for our snacks. I am not sure S and H will love this but rather than something process for snacks we are going to try fruits, veggies or home baked goodies. I am hoping we can adjust to this change because I know it is better for us and will make it easier for me to reach my grocery budget goal.
I am also going to try to cook some of these meals ahead of time or at least get some of the prep work done early. As I have mentioned S works swing shift so our dinner meal is actually served at lunch. A few days a week we hit the gym in the morning before lunch and I find we often pick up Subway or Chipotle on those days rather than come home and hurry through preparing a meal. So this week I am going to try to prepare a bit in advance on these days so that hopefully we can avoid the fast food places.

Bountiful Basket Round Up 9/24

This week's organic basket was full of yummy goodness. The basket included: Carrots, Broccoli, Celery, Radishes, Lettuce, Strawberries (H loves his "straws"), grapes, mango, blueberries, and cantaloupe. I also got a package of 9 Grain Bread, 5 loaves for $10 can't beat that deal. I throw all but one loaf in the freezer and pull it out as we need it. The bread is fresh baked and not full of all the preservatives and junk that grocery store bread often has in it. We love the bread!
Head over to Bountiful Baskets to find a location near you!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mil-Spouse Friday!

1. My favorite thing that happened this week was playing Gears of War 3. I will admit I am kind of a gamer well at least when it comes to a few particular games. S and I both love playing Gears and had been anticipating the launch of 3 for months! It was great to play it with S this week.

2. Find a penny, pick it up and all day long you’ll listen to H talk about the money Mommy found. He loves to carry change around.

3. Autumn is officially here and my favorite part of the season is
everything. I LOVE fall...except living here in the desert where fall doesn't really happen makes me EXTREMELY homesick. Its harvest time back home, I miss seeing the farmers in the fields, the trees changing colors, deer hunting, the Scenic drive, high school football games, well I guess I miss everything about home this time of year.

4. One of the things I’d like to do before winter arrives is get some more fishing in without H on the boat. We will still be able to go in the winter because winter isn't really winter here but I would like to go out a few more times this fall with S on our own. H makes it pretty tricky to fish and make sure he isn't climbing in the water or anything crazy. Though I do love our family fishing time too.

5. I would be willing to participate in MilSpouse Secret Santa

Head on over to Wife of a Sailor to check out other Mil-Spouse Fill Ins.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First HH6 Challenge: Tomato Pasta

This week I prepared my HH6 Cooking Challenge for September. As I mentioned in my first post about this challenge I didn't have a whole lot to chose from so I had to get creative. I must say creativity is not my specialty. I am still learning my way around the kitchen so to speak and typically cook based on a recipe. This was a bit of a challenge for me but I enjoyed it all the same.

My ingredients included:
1 Can Tomato Soup
1 Tomato chopped
1 Onion Chopped
Garlic Clove
1 lb ground hamburger
shredded cheese
First I sauteed the chopped garlic, tomato, and onion.

Then I boiled the pasta and browned the ground beef. After the hamburger was done I added the sauteed veggies and the tomato soup to the beef.
This was the first time I have ever cooked not using a recipe and I must say it turned out really well. I realize it isn't the most creative meal and is much like spaghetti or possibly a hamburger helper meal but it turned out really good. S even asked for seconds so I must have done something right! Here is a picture of the finished product!
I really enjoyed this month's challenge and look forward to October's!
Add Image

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Menu 9/19 through 9/25

Here is our weekly menu, again I am shopping from my pantry when coming up with a meal plan. It worked great last week and I am hoping for the same results this week! I have decided to just share our main meals instead of all 3 because our breakfasts and dinners get pretty boring especially since I am drinking green smoothies for my meals.
Monday: HH6 Monthly Challenge
Tuesday: Skinny Sloppy Joes with veggies and chips
Wednesday: Butternut Squash Soup
Thursday: Skinny Sloppy Joes with veggies and chips
Friday: Faijta Steak Skillet with black beans and corn
Saturday: BLTs with fruit and chips
Sunday: Steak with Baked Sweet Potatoes and Veggies

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mil-Spouse Friday!

  1. Right now, our weather is warm and sunny, but what I’d really like is cool and fall like.
  2. I like to let my hair down and play some Gears of War with S.
  3. Mommy Rambles made a post about heroes… my hero is my Mom because she always handle whatever hand life handed you with grace and dignity. She would give the shirt off her back to anyone in need.
  4. It’s a weird combination, but I swear pickles and peanut butter are a perfect pair!
  5. Some may see the glass half empty and others may see it half full, but I see it as a challenge that I have to overcome so it doesn't matter if the life is half full or empty.
Head on over to Wife of Sailor to join the fun!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Menu 9/12 through 9/18

This week I shopped in my pantry and made my meal plans entirely off of what I already have in the kitchen. I will share my grocery list for this week after I post our menu.
Breakfast: PB & J Toast/Green Smoothie
Lunch: Hamburgers with chips and fruit
Dinner: Salad with turkey/Green smoothie
Breakfast: Eggs with toast/Green Smoothie
Lunch: Meatloaf with sweet potatoes and veggies
Dinner: PB&J with chips and fruit/Green Smoothie
Breakfast: Oatmeal/Green Smoothie
Lunch: Chef Miserly Beefy Mac with veggies
Dinner: Turkey Sandwich with chips and fruit/Green Smoothie
Breakfast: PB&J Toast/Green Smoothie
Lunch: Meatloaf with sweet potatoes and veggies
Dinner: Tuna Sandwich with chips and fruit/Green Smoothie
Breakfast: Eggs with toast/Green Smoothie
Lunch: Chef Miserly Beefy Mac with veggies
Dinner: Free Night
Breakfast: Egg in Hole/Green Smoothie
Lunch: Turkey Sandwich with chips and fruit/Green Smoothie
Dinner: Quesadillas
Breakfast & Lunch: Buffalo Wild Wings
Dinner: Chef Miserly Beefy Mac with veggies

My grocery list: milk, bottle water, cereal, spinach, and ice cream.

I hope to be able to stick with this meal plan all week, I find it is easy to get off track sometimes especially when we are eating leftovers. Have a great week!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We will never forget....

I really don't have the words to express how I feel tonight, remembering and reflecting on September 11, 2001. As a sophomore in high school from a small midwestern town my world was completely changed and innocence taken away from me 1o years ago. I didn't know anyone that was directly affected by the events that took place on that horrible day. Obviously all Americans lost their innocence on that day and each of us were deeply affected. I still grieve for those that we lost in the attacks, the men and women that have died defending our country after that horrible day and for America as a whole. Our world changed forever on September 11, 2001 but we will never forget.
My beautiful and talented cousin Amanda sings Diamond Rio's In God We Still Trust that I believe really describes how I am feeling tonight.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bountiful Basket Round Up 9/10

This week's Organic Bountiful Basket included: artichokes (I have no idea what to do with these so recommendations would be GREAT!), purple cabbage, sweet potatoes, onions, and lettuce for the veggies. The fruits included: bananas, strawberries, blueberries, pears, apples and peaches.

Bountiful Baskets is such a great organization and a great way to bring healthy foods into your house. If you haven't participated yet visit Bountiful Baskets to find a site near you! Oh and as I mentioned I am looking for recipes ideas for the artichoke and the sweet potatoes...send em my way.

Happy Birthday, Mama Boo

Today my Mom would be 52 years old and you bet if she were still around I would be teasing her about getting older. You see my Mom was not only my Mom but my best friend. It was just her and I growing up and we did every thing together. We went to stock car races together, shopping together, summer trips to Brookfield Zoo and Chicago together. The memories we made I treasure now and looking back we had some great times.

Of course we had the usual mother daughter fights. I dated guys she didn't approve of and I of course was a little rebellious, aren't all kids at some point, but I always knew my Mama Boo would be there for me. We had our ups and downs but my Mom was always my best friend. We solved the worlds problems on our fun little road trips and always had a good laugh.

Mom's battle with cancer started when I was in 8th grade and I will never forget the moment she told me she had been diagnosed. You see I lost my Dad when I was just 2 years old so the thought of losing my Mom was terrifying. I was determined she would beat this and she did for a while. But after a long hard fight cancer won in the summer of 2002. I don't think anyone can ever understand what I felt at that moment, I know my family didn't, at least at that time. I didn't just lose my Mama Boo I lost my best friend, my support system, my everything at the age of 16.

I haven't had my Mom by my side for so many big moments, prom, graduation, my wedding, the birth of H but I know my Mom is always right here next to me. I really just wanted to post a special Happy Birthday message to my Mama Boo....she is getting older after all. :)

Memories are so treasured and I will never forget all of the great memories my Mama Boo and I made over the years. She was kind of the crazy picture lady taking pictures of everything but you know what now I am so glad she did because I can look back and remember all the great times we had.

Anyway happy 52nd Birthday Mama Boo! I love you to the moon and back! Thanks for being the best Mom in the world. Miss you!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mil-Spouse Fill-In

Its that time again for Wife of a Sailor's Mil-Spouse Fill In.....

1. My plans for Labor Day included going down to the river and fishing all day, but what really happened was we left for the river at 3am, spent the morning on the river. We had a blast! When we came home we blew up the air mattress and watched a Bones marathon (thanks Netflix) as a family. It was great day!

2. Call me crazy, but sometimes I just need to go to the gym and sweat out my frustrations!

3. One of the funniest things I’ve seen lately is H potty training. He gets so excited to use the potty.

4. It’s strange, but rude people drive me crazy while being a nice as possible to those same people is perfectly fine with me!

5. One, two, buckle my shoe… three, four I am ready for real fall bad I live in the desert!

Head on over to Wife of a Sailor to check out more Mil-Spouse fill ins.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Household Organizational Challenge

Lately I have found myself to be overwhelmed with all that I have to complete in a day and have been struggling to find a way to get our household and myself organized.Finding a balance between home, school, family, and my new AVON business is not an easy task. I can't stand having a messy house but also obviously have to dedicate time to family, school, and my business.

I have decided to create an organizational plan for getting house work done first. I think the housework is what overwhelms me the most. I can't just sit and focus on anything when the house looks like a tornado just swept through. My plan includes not only a weekly chore chart but also weekly challenges so that I can attack those problems areas that we all forget or ignore (aka the master closet etc).

I am stealing a play out of the FlyLady's play book and limiting myself to only 10 minutes on each task (except laundry and dishes) so I don't spend all day cleaning the house rather than studying, playing with H or any number of things more fun than cleaning the house!

I have included screen shots of my organizational plan, it isn't the greatest quality but you get the idea. I will let you know how this goes. :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Getting into a routine....

or at least I am trying too. I don't know if I have mentioned that not only am I a stay at home Mom but I am also a full time student and recently have become an Independent Sales Representative with AVON. School started a couple of weeks ago and I have really struggled to balance it all.
I am trying to find a routine that will work for all of my responsibilities but so far am struggling with it. It doesn't help that S's schedule isn't exactly set in stone and the talk of possible future deployments always throws a wrench in my plans. We currently function on a 2nd shift schedule because that is the shift S works and H is a night owl anyway.
Balancing the needs of your family, home, school, and a business is very challenging and I may pull my hair out by the end of the semester. :) I am looking for a way to balance it all, do you have any advice? Currently I am trying to create a schedule that will allow me to keep up with everything but I am afraid there are not enough hours in the day. If you have a great schedule that works please share it!

Snacks/Desserts 9/5 through 9/11

I am going to try something different this week, S and I always have a snack after he gets home from work. It is our time and we like to unwind watching some television and eating a snack. I haven't been buying a lot of snack type foods for a couple of reasons, 1) a lot of snacky type foods are high in processed junk and 2) I love to snack so if we have snacks on hand I WILL snack.
This week I am going to try to plan a couple of snacks I can make over the weekend and have on hand for the week. Now the hard part will be keeping S, H, and I out of the snacks. :)
So I am thinking of making the following for our weekly snacks:
Monster Cookies with milk
Corn Tortilla Chips with Salsa
Air Popped Popcorn (this one I will make the night we decide to eat)
Applesauce Brownies
I am looking forward to trying out these recipes and seeing if I can keep my hands out of the "cookie jar" so to speak and not snack too much. I will let you know how it goes!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bountiful Basket Round Up

This week's Organic basket came with all kinds of great produce including: tomatoes, celery, lettuce, celery, cucumber, squash, bananas, limes, peaces, watermelon, and mango.

Head over to Bountiful Baskets to see if baskets are available in your area! A great way to provide your family with produce at a great cost.

This morning I finally got the chance to head to the pickup site early and volunteered with Bountiful Baskets. It was a great experience and I will be heading back to volunteer every week. It was great to get the opportunity to help participants get their produce.
I arrived at 8am to be greeted by the site coordinators, who were very welcoming. We eagerly awaited the arrival of the semi-truck to deliver our site's produce. Once the truck arrived the hard work began. We had to unload the pallets of produce and organize them into piles. After everything was unloaded it was time to fill the baskets. It was fun to see what was going into each of the baskets. Finally as the participants began to arrive I was able to help everyone get their basket.
Volunteering was a great experience and very rewarding! I love Bountiful Baskets even more now. I look forward to seeing what surprises are in next week's basket and volunteering again.

Menu 9/3 through 9/11

Monday- Happy Labor Day!
Breakfast: Leftover Donuts (We are going on a VERY early morning fishing trip)
Lunch: ? We will be on the boat and probably won't get around to lunch. Just snacks or the Marina Grill
Dinner: Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot with Brown Rice and Veggies
Breakfast: Bacon and Eggs/Green Smoothie
Lunch: Spaghetti with Homemade Sauce
Dinner: Chicken Salad Sandwich/Green Smoothie
Breakfast: Oatmeal/Green Smoothie
Lunch: Barbeque Chicken with Baked Potatoes and Veggies
Dinner: Spaghetti/Green Smoothie
Breakfast: Bacon and Eggs/Green Smoothie
Lunch: Teriyaki Salmon with Brown Rice and Veggies (Sauce from Healthy Meals for Less)
Dinner: PB&J with Chips/Green Smoothie
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Pork Chop Supreme with Veggies
Dinner: Free Meal
Breakfast: Egg in a Hole/Green Smoothie
Lunch: BLTs with chips and fruit
Dinner: Cheeseburgers with French Fries and Veggies
Breakfast & Lunch: Its GAME DAY! During Football Season we visit our local Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Chicago Bears play. Most games start at 10am so we just eat at Bdubs.
Dinner: Turkey and Cheese Omelets

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mil-Spouse Fill-In

Here is this week's installment of Mil-Spouse Fill in. Thanks to Wife of a Sailor for keeping Mil-Spouse Fill-in days going.
  1. My plans for this weekend include studying and housework, but what I’d really like to do is take a roadtrip to do some fishing and boating in Utah.
  2. I consider the Labor Day holiday a time of reflection, remembering all the men and women of our history that have worked so hard to make it what it is today.
  3. My favorite meal for cookouts is brats, but my weight loss goal wouldn’t agree. (eating brats kills the diet)
  4. So far, my favorite part of summer has been the month or so of leave we took, spending time in Northern Wisconsin is nothing short of perfect.
  5. When it comes to deployments, my philosophy is a day at a time, they suck but have to be done.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

HH6- Sept. Cooking Challenge

This is my first month joining the Household 6 Cooking Club! Each month members are given a cooking challenge to complete and blog about. This month's challenge is:

We all need to be prepared in the event of a disaster. You have stuff in your pantry and fridge/freezer. If a disaster should strike today and you have no access to going to a grocery store but your stove/grill is still working, what would you make with what you have on hand.

As part of the challenge we were required to take pictures of our fridge, freezer, and pantry to show what we had on hand for this challenge. Here are my pictures. I grocery shop for the week on Saturdays so my cupboards are a little bare and I clean my fridge out on Fridays so it isn't the cleanest in the world either.

I don't know what I am going to prepare and will share my experience after I prepare this meal but these are some of the items in my kitchen that I may use: ground beef, frozen veggies, brown rice, pasta, onions, garlic, potatoes, tomato paste, tomato soup, tomatoes, olive oil, and bread.
So check back in a few weeks to see what I come up with for this challenge.