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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tips on Running a Household: Menu Planning


Tips on Running a Household: Menu Planning


MENU PLANNING 


Why plan a menu?

For me, it's my lifeline. I've got my four kids pulling me in all different directions. When I have a menu, my life is easier.  It's one less decision to make at that crazy time of day in the after school hours. In the morning, I already know what we're going to have, so it's a simple matter to get out the meat to defrost, or to get dinner into the crock pot. I can look at our schedule and figure out when I need to start things in order to be able to eat before an activity. I can also prep things ahead of time if needed. It's so much easier to say no to a $5 pizza on the way home from karate, if I've already got dinner in the oven.

The hardest part of making dinner is deciding what to have. When you have a menu plan, the decisions are already made so dinner is easy!

How do I do it?

Each month I sit down and write a menu. {If that seems too daunting, plan a weekly menu instead.} It's nothing fancy. I literally draw a calendar on a folded over piece of paper and start filling in the meals.

Tips on Running a Household: Menu Planning


Sundays, we always do a roast, chicken or pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy and homemade rolls. Fridays, we always have homemade pizza or calzones. Mondays we usually have some kind of breakfast for dinner {I won't let them have cereal though, they'd want it all the time and we already spend way too much on it}. Then I start filling in the other days of the week.  Mondays and Wednesdays my son has Karate lessons. He gets done at 5:30. My kids are starving by then. I try to either have something in the oven or crockpot, or have something really simple that can be pulled together in minutes {like breakfast for dinner}. I've found lately that Saturdays I don't feel much like cooking big meals, so it's usually something simple and/or quick.  Now in our crazy lives, things are always coming up. For example,  there are dentist appointments, or parent teacher conferences that come up. I don't always remember to factor these things into my menu plan. I may need a quicker meal than I had planned for that day, so I just swap meals with a different day. That's OK. 

At the beginning of each week, I write down that week's menu on my Chalkboard Menuboard. Click the link for my tutorial. Or you can check out my etsy store {Bits of Sparkle and Lace} and buy one.

DIY Chalkboard Menuboard


Once I have my menu plan for the month, I make up my grocery list. But that's a topic for another day.


So do you plan your menus? What tips do you have that help you?


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Goals - Week 2

Goals


Did you set any goals last week? How did you do?


Here are last weeks goals and how I did:
 1. Try the DIY Ant Poison I saw on Pinterest. If it doesn't work, buy ant traps.  It took me until Friday to finally do this. The jury's still out on how well the DIY ant poison worked. I mixed up the borax/sugar/water solution and set it out. I had quite a few ants attracted to it. The next day there were no ants, but then on Sunday I saw a few. It may take a few times to get them all.

2. Make a hot breakfast at least 3 times this week. This one was hard, but I did it. It takes a lot of planning ahead, since my kids are "starving" when they wake up. It just works better if I've made pancake batter {or whatever} the night before and can make breakfast as quickly as possible. The third meal, I made muffins the night before and so it wasn't "hot", but it wasn't cold cereal, which was the whole point of the goal. This is still something that's hard for me. I'll continue this goal for a few more weeks. Hopefully I can make it a habit.

3. Go grocery shopping. I go grocery shopping once a month.{Other than a short trip mid-month to replenish milk, fruit and such.} So it takes some planning and time, but I'm done for another month now. I'll be sharing more about my system of grocery shopping in my household tips series.

4. Remember morning family prayers. This was also hard. I think we only did it twice. We do pretty good at night, but we haven't ever really focused on morning prayers. It's something that just needs to become a habit. This will continue to be a goal.

5. Can the tomatoes from the garden. I did this on Thursday. We had enough tomatoes and peppers from the garden to make a batch of Picante Sauce.




Some things need to become a habit for me. They say it takes 2-3 weeks to form a habit, so I'll be repeating some of my goals this week. Here we go:

One thing I MUST do this week:

1. Figure out a good system for school lunches. I've pinned a few things that I need to read over. I'm not looking for an elaborate system. I'm just thinking of figuring out 5-6 different main options that they will eat, so they only get sandwiches once or twice a week.

Other goals: 

2. Remember morning family prayers.

3. Make a hot breakfast at least 3 times this week

4. Get packed and ready for camping trip this weekend.

What are your goals this week?
What do you put in your kids school lunches that they like?

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Friday, August 22, 2014

No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake Dessert

No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake Recipe


This summer we made this really yummy dessert! I love the combination of the creamy pudding mixed with crispy Oreos. Every single one of us - even the picky ones loved it. I'm not a huge fan of a plain Oreos. {I know, weird} BUT... put them in a dessert and I'm going back for seconds.

This No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake is similar to my 5 Layer Oreo Dessert, but even better. Give it a try and see if you like it too.


No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake

Click Here for Printable Recipe

No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake Recipe

1 pkg oreos
2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 box (3.4 oz) white chocolate instant pudding
1 box (3.4 oz) chocolate instant pudding
2 1/2 c. milk, divided
1 c. cool whip
3 T. butter, melted

Crush 15 oreos and mix with the melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9" spring-form pan. Mix cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add 1 cup of the milk while beating, until milk is incorporated. Stir in white chocolate pudding. Fold in cool whip and 1 1/2 c. crushed oreos. In another bowl mix together 1 1/2 c. milk with the chocolate pudding. Pour half of the oreo pudding mixture on top of the oreo crust. Then pour the chocolate pudding. Add the remaining oreo pudding mixture, and top with more crushed oreos. Refrigerate.

Do you like Oreos?

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